Eat24, the food delivery service whose employees apparently spend far too much time thinking about food-related puns, has announced in a blog post that it is “breaking up” with Facebook.
The screed, which was prompted by Facebook’s decision to change the way stories are shown in its News Feed, reads like a long-winded joke from a drunken chef pretending not to know what terms like “algorithm” or “revenues” or “surprise, Facebook needs to make money” mean.
It seems that Eat24 doesn’t want to pay for its “random musings about pork buns” to find their way to Facebook’s users. It would prefer that Facebook provide a free platform through which it could spam all the people who Liked its page with slightly amusing reminders that its food delivery service could totally put the IPO-bound GrubHub and Seamless to shame. Now it thinks that posting a petulant open letter might do what, exactly? Attract pageviews? Garner sympathy? The actual point of the blog post, assuming it isn’t a joke, isn’t entirely clear. [Not that there's anything wrong with petulant open letters -- PC]
That said, Eat24, and any other companies complaining about the number of ads users see when they sign on to Facebook, even as they post images and recommendations and other malarkey directly related to their business, should be upset about the changes. I’d be pissed if someone took away my primary method of free communication, too.
Facebook’s users, however, are probably happy with the change. It’s bad enough that they have to view ads that know a suspicious amount of personal information — but signing on to the service and being bombarded with posts about casual games, food delivery, or any of the other inane crap with which people interact only when they’re drunk is worse. Facebook says that the average user can encounter some 1,500 stories every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if fewer of those were barely-disguised advertisements that try too hard to be funny?
Eat24 recognizes this fact in its blog post. “You lied to us and said you were a social network but you’re totally not a social network. At least not anymore,” writes Eat24’s anonymous blogger. “When we log in to Facebook, we want to see what Aunt Judy is doing next weekend (hopefully baking us cupcakes) and read hilarious headlines from The Onion and see pictures of a cat who got his head stuck in the couch cushions.” Nowhere in there does it say that people expect to see pizza puns or cheesy poems.
It’s Eat24’s prerogative to quit Facebook in such a public manner. You never know where a petulant, pitiful, public outburst will get you with a social network. When MIT’s Jason Pontin (pictured right) threw a hissy fit and demanded that, unless Twitter verified his account, he would never Tweet again, the company quickly (and inexplicably) relented.
But this is Facebook we’re talking about. As Pando’s Kevin Kelleher pointed out earlier today, they don’t give a flying damn what Eat24, you, me or anyone else thinks. For that reason, I suspect they’ll move on from this breakup pretty quickly. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Eat24 to come crawling back for a second chance.
[Image credit: Hallie Bateman for Pando]