Facebook Can't Stop Doing Too Many Things

By Adam Clark Estes on at

If you’ve been wondering why you couldn’t order food without leaving Facebook, you’re in luck. Facebook just launched this very feature in the US and it sounds simply awful. Remember when Facebook was just a utility that helped you find your friends’ email addresses? We were such dorks back then.

The post announcing this previously tested food ordering feature details a truly dreadful present and an even more dreadful future. Facebook’s Alex Himel writes:

Ordering food for takeout or delivery is supposed to be simple. That’s the point. But somehow it’s gotten complicated. First you need to decide what to eat, then you have to sift through a bunch of options and services.

Ordering food is not that complicated. In fact, it’s one of the most streamlined experiences ever, thanks to the likes of JustEat and Hungry House. Facebook isn’t exactly firing up its own version of JustEat, though. The social network appears to be picking up the scraps left behind in some weird convergence of new revenue streams, novel advertising opportunities, and good old fashioned data collection.

It’s another a reminder that Facebook, the once-useful thing you did back in college, has become the next Yahoo and is drowning its most useful features in a sea of profit-hungry bullshit.

If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the past decade in Facebook history. Ten years ago, Mark Zuckerberg took the state at the company’s first F8 conference and announced developer access to the Facebook social graph, meaning anyone could build apps that would exist entirely within the Facebook ecosystem. This is the move that led to Farmville and countless other garbage experiences enabled by Facebook becoming a platform instead of a service in and of itself. Later, in 2013, the social network tried to double down on this basic concept with Facebook Home, a launcher for Android phones that integrated Facebook features into the operating system. This effectively meant that any time you were using your phone, you were also on Facebook.

Neither of these initiatives were ultimately successful, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from rebuilding the functionality of services that used the social network’s platform in the form of new Facebook features. This food ordering is just the latest example of this. For instance, American takeaway ordering service ChowNow offered the ability to order from restaurants directly from those businesses' Facebook page years ago, but the new feature simply aggregates these services into one Facebook-branded experience. It’s unclear if or how Facebook is sharing revenue with companies like ChowNow going forward. Nevertheless, Facebook is constantly coming up with new attempts to get people to spend more time on Facebook, clogging up what was once a simple, useful service.

Lucky for us, Facebook's food ordering service hasn't launched in the UK yet. And based on the paltry list of partners in the US, there’s a good chance that it sucks. You probably don't need to use it. You also don’t need to use Facebook if you don’t want to. It’s not that fun any more!


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