5 Things I Hate About Facebook “Stories”

5 things I hate about Facebook storiesThrough their constant tinkering, Facebook has foisted a lot of unpopular features on us over the years (Ticker, anyone?). But to me, the worst is the new Story function.

Excuse me, “story.” Those should read as air quotes. The biggest, most sarcastic air quotes you’ve ever seen. Dr. Evil-style air quotes.

Why has this feature earned my bitter enmity? Several reasons. But first, some quick background.

What is the Story Function?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just look to very top of your Facebook feed (top right column in the desktop version).

Depending on the extent to which your friends have inflicted their stories (“stories”) upon you, you’ll see a series of bubbles encircling their profile/cover images. That means they’ve got a “story” to share.

When someone posts a “story,” it stays perched atop your page for 24 long, long hours.

Story functionThe feature has been around for about a year, but Facebook recently raised the stakes by giving us the option when posting a picture or video to make it a “story.” Since they’ve been pushing this feature harder I’ve noticed a definite uptick in the number I see.

Here’s why I hate them.

1. These Are NOT Stories

First, as someone who teaches storytelling in my books and workshops, I can assure you that 99.99999% of the “stories” I see are not stories. Just to be clear, the following things are emphatically NOT stories:

  • A picture of your cat (no matter how adorable she is) or your lunch
  • A video marketing your business
  • A trite observation along the lines of “Who hates Mondays?” accompanied by a GIF

I know I’m being pedantic about this, but stories are about character and conflict and human interest and all the rest. For reference, this is what a story is.

2. They Don’t Merit “Top of Feed” Placement

Second, their placement at the top of the page (FOR 24 HOURS) suggests an importance wholly out of line with what most of these “stories” deliver, since most of them are indistinguishable from ordinary, everyday Facebook content.

3. They’re Obnoxious and Intrusive

There’s a thing called “permission marketing,” the definition of which is pretty clear. It means you have to have an audience’s permission to market to them. So you can’t, say, add them to your mass email list without getting their explicit okay.

Putting yourself at the top of my Facebook page (FOR 24 HOURS!!) is a serious violation of that principle. It’s like walking into a party and interrupting a conversation to yell, “Hey, look at me!”

4. They Won’t Go Away!

To continue with the party analogy, if you do look at the person yelling, he won’t go away. And if you ignore him, he STILL WON’T GO AWAY.

He’s stuck there, FOR 24 HOURS, hogging valuable real estate, eyeballs, mindshare, whatever you want to call it.

Honestly, I’d start looking at more of these “stories” if it meant they’d disappear afterwards, but THEY WON’T.

5. Facebook Gives Me No Control

If I decide I don’t care for someone’s posts on Facebook, I have a few options. I can unfriend them, I can mute them in my feed permanently with the “unfollow” function, or I can take advantage of the recently added “30 day snooze” function to put them to sleep for a while.

With “stories,” I don’t have that option. I can’t turn off the feature itself or get rid of individual stories.

The only choice I have is to unfriend, unfollow or snooze each of these “storytellers” individually. Which I have done for persistent “story” tellers, but pretty soon I’m going to run out of Facebook friends in my feed!

Please Make it Stop

So I’m begging you: stop posting your “stories.” Alternatively, create actual compelling stories and post those. But just don’t force me to stare at them all day — make them a regular part of your feed.

Thank you.

23 thoughts on “5 Things I Hate About Facebook “Stories”

  1. Yeah. I found your blog comment because I googled “hate facebook story”. Very worrying how media is herding our thinking like a mob of cattle.

  2. I found your comment for the same reason as the above poster. “I hate facebook story” search. And if you try to tell your friends about the problem they don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about.

  3. Thanks for posting your thoughts on fb “Stories”. Every time Facebook launches a new feature, without giving fb users a chance to turn it off, it reinforces a sense that we’re just lemming or cattle, you choose the metaphor. “Memories” is another debacle. If you hit the associated 3 dots on top, hoping to turn it off, a “technical error” has occurred.

  4. I’ve asked FB support many, many times how to turn off the stories pane (feed, w/e) and I’ve never even gotten a boilerplate response. It’s as if they aren’t allowed to even acknowledge criticism of this “feature”. The stories feature is complete crap. Watching stories is like watching a runaway train – bits and pieces of video clips appear very briefly, and then you roll on to another completely unrelated set of video clips from another person. They remind me of blipverts except stories convey zero information and have no useful reason for existing.

  5. I too Googled “hate facebook stories” – it and Memories are infuriating!

  6. I found this article googling “I hate facebook stories” as well. It’s a movement. What can we do?

  7. The final last freaking straw in goddamn stories is that you can’t interact with them; no comments thank you just stfu and see me.

  8. Amen, brother! The “stories” feature makes no sense, has no purpose and, last but not least, is completely obnoxious. Every time I click on somebody’s “story”, it is just some little photo, video or meme that could be a regular post, yet instead, it takes me into the “stories” vortex and suddenly FB is scrolling to the next “story” it decides to show me before I’ve even had a chance to glance at the first pointless one. There is zero reason for this feature to exist.

  9. Totally agree! I kind of understand that FB invented Stories to have more opportunities or space to put ads down the throat of mainly mobile users…
    at the beginning, I thought that nobody would use them, but Facebook knows well how to manipulate their users and they too easily fall in to my sense!…
    Actually, I just found out it was possible to click on the 3 dots and decide now to turn the particular stories of your friends off and I did it glad-fully; stories’ images are still appearing at the top of my facebook page though 🙁

  10. Laughing that so many of us are searching “I hate Facebook story feature!” I have been searching for an hour to figure out how to disable it. Birthday tomorrow and I don’t want this feature… so annoying to get requests to post to my story! it’s a birthday… not a story! Ugh!! Plz lose the feature Facebook!

  11. You forgot to mention how when you accidentally click on one (which inevitably happens) it will tell them that you viewed it. This happened to me on two unfortunate occasions. One was a picture of a friends daughter doing cheer leading or something like that, and the other was my female cousin who is an avid trainer showing bragging about her booty. Great, now one thinks i’m a pedo and my cousin probably thinks i’m a creep. I hate Facebook stories most of all for this reason. On a lighter note, I hate them because they flash by so quickly and you cant take in the whole scene as well as read long winded things. Stories are the worst!

    1. It annoys me too but you can go back or move forward just by touching the screen left to right and skip right over the ones you don’t want to see but of course it does show you viewed it which is a bunch of crap.

  12. I have been going berserk trying to ‘open’ the story. You can click anything you want and they just sit there trying to look important. So glad that I asked Google about the annoyance.

  13. I just searched Facebook stories annoying and found your post. I would like to turn them off for pretty much the same reasons you e described – a really low-value use of real estate.

  14. FYI People are NOT choosing to post a ‘story’. FB makes stories out of peoples regular posts even when they don’t choose the make story option; it’s not an option! It’s a violation. A number of my posts have been turned into stories against my will and instead of seeing likes or comments on a regular post I see a list of people/friends who have ‘viewed my story’. Not something I wanted to have happen at all!
    I’ve searched for a way to turn it off to no avail, despite FB saying it’s my choice, an option I refuse just before hitting ‘post’. FB’s days are numbered, IMO.

  15. P.s. I came accross this article when I googled ” how do i stop FB from making ‘Stories’ out of my posts”.

  16. I hate them because they are timed. Whatever the message, Facebook gives you about 10 seconds to take it in, text and all. You can hit the space bar or hold the screen, but the only thing that makes me realise that I have to do that is when it disappears while I’m reading. Very annoying. So I go through the effort of bringing it back and trying to figure out how to “hold” it on the screen. Why can’t interactive media (not a movie) let me decide when to move on?

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