Facebook on Defensive about it’s Messenger App

fb-messenger-on-the-defensiveThis morning when I opened Facebook on my phone I got a notice pointing to this link: https://www.facebook.com/messengerfacts . It would seem that Facebook is on the defensive after all the bad press about the forced move to FB messenger.

Someone somewhere started a rumor a couple of weeks ago that basically Facebook always listening via the microphone and having the ability to watch you via your camera. The rumor has been republished and recycled so many times that it’s hard to track down the source. Many apps request permission to access your microphone and camera. It’s not a ‘bad’ permission per say. Google search on Android is always listening; How do you think your phone knows when you say “Ok Google” to launch a search? Duh!

I cannot believe the perpetrator of the always watching/listening myth was that really that uninformed. If so they he or she has no business writing tech articles. Me thinks they were being purposely obtuse for the clicks.


 Why we’re asking people to install Messenger—We’re committed to providing a fast, reliable and fun messaging app that anyone in the world can use to reach the people who matter to them. That’s why we’re focusing just on Messenger and moving messages out of the Facebook app. People usually respond about 20% faster when they have Messenger, and we think they’ll find both apps useful in different ways. We hope you’ll try out Messenger and enjoy everything else you can do with the app, like chatting with groups and sending stickers.


Marketing double talk aside this is very telling and the reason I won’t install messenger. The bottom line is Facebook wants you to always be available on their network. It’s a business decision. The more people look like they’re available the more you will come to their site to message people. The more time you spend on the site the more likely you are to click on ads and make Facebook money. It’s a simple as that.

I dislike the main FB app for that reason even if you turn off chat availability it will still show a phone symbol next to my name a long with how long it’s been since I checked in. Screw that, when I close the Facebook tab in my browser I don’t want to be available on your network, period. When you have messenger installed you light up green on the FB website any time you use your phone. Wake up at 4am and grab your phone to see what texts have come in? Yup, you’re available on Facebook while you do that. Always on and perpetually available. No Thanks!

Facebook is so invasive about this constant availability that I’ve uninstalled the FB app from my phone. The mobile browser version works just fine and is in many cases faster than the native app. All you miss is the notifications most of which aren’t very important and can wait. The confused looks I get when I tell people I don’t have Facebook on my phone are priceless though. It’s almost like I asked them to sacrifice their first born. :D

With TWC it apparently takes 5 hours just to enable WiFi on their own modem

You call that customer service?

You call that customer service?

Earlier this week I decided to take my router out of service. I’ve had it for 3-4 years and the past month or so it’s been randomly dropping and refusing to authenticate WiFi connections. I just got fed up with it. Knowing that my internet package includes WiFi and my modem has the hardware I figure it’s as simple as Time Warner Cable flipping a switch on their end. Yeah, right.

I should note that when I first got the modem. It took me days of intermittent connectivity to get TWC to disable their WiFi and place the router into bridge mode so my router could handle DHCP. Why would I think enabling it would be any easier?

I always go through online chat for basic stuff it’s just easier than talking on the phone for hours to do simple stuff at least I can put the chat on my other monitor and still do other stuff.

The first technician I connected with was Steven, he was cool, knew his gig, and we even talked geek for a bit while he was waiting on his systems to update. We got WiFi working but couldn’t get it out of bridge mode. Steven suggested I factory reset the modem which would disconnect us. I thanked him for his time and went to hard rest the modem.

Here’s where I wound up in a circle jerk that raised my blood pressure in epic proportions. Upon reboot WiFi wouldn’t work. Logging into the modem’s config page had the option grayed out. Getting back online with tech support they informed me that WiFi was not on my account and billing would have to enable it. “Sir, I swear WiFi was just working 20 minutes ago.” No dice, he kicked me to billing.

I explain the situation to Brienne, who is clearly multi-tasking because she keeps telling me “Thank you for your patience”, “I’ll be with you shortly.”, etc. (see screenshot) As if that’s not annoying enough she’s also clueless. She insists they need to “install WiFi” for a one time cost of $19.99. That ain’t happening. I physically have the box in my house and it’s already activated. I’m not paying you to remove an artificial limitation on my account. Plus my plan *includes* WiFi don’t try and charge me extra. She supposedly talks to her supervisor and gets the charge waived.

Since I was already on the line with sales/billing and I was looking to get a DVR and looking to replace the living room cable box, I asked Brienne what my package options were. That added a whole bunch of confusion into the mix which was my fault. We settled the “Ultimate Triple Play” for $160/mo plus $30/mo in equipment. That’s a multi-room DVR, an additonal box, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc, the fastest internet they have, and phone service. Expensive but not to shabby. We scheduled the install for Friday.

I explicitly tell Brienne that I want WiFi activated tonight and that she can activate the rest of the stuff when the tech comes out Friday. I also explicitly tell her to update the phone number on my account so we can confirm the tech’s visit as they call 2 or 3 times beforehand. Funnily enough, the phone number on the account is the phone number from when I first had TWC phone service. I’d cancelled it and resubscribed with a new number from TWC months ago. Do their systems not check for self hosted numbers that have been disconnected?

Did Brienee activate WiFi? You guessed it, nope. What a bunch of horse chit. This lead to me talking with billing and tech support multiple times. I was so frustrated I even reached out to TWC on Facebook. Oddly enough, their social media tech could look at my account and tell me the problem. It’s funny how the only reps that actually help you is when they’re looking at getting a black eye publically. All of a sudden everyone is falling over themselves to help the rest of the time you deal with clueless asshats that handicapped by their own company’s policies.

I wound up calling into a local call center just to get everything straightened out. I never got the confirmation calls on Thursday night or Friday morning so I get back on chat who informed me that the old number is still on my account and I didn’t answer the calls. I told him to check the chat logs and I explicitly told the rep to update my phone number and the tech better find his way here. This guy tried to upsell me to yet another new package. Are you fucking kidding me? I wasn’t even going to get the upgrades I scheduled because of inept reps now you want me to spend more money with you assclowns? GTFO.

Basically you have a situation where one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. Multiple backend systems with TWC clearly aren’t kept in real-time sync. You’re looking to nickel and dime me for everything you can (Wifi install charge). You have an online chat system for support and upgrades yet multiple reps have told me they don’t have as access to as many promotions or as much information as the phone reps. So, you’re saving money by having one rep handle multiple customers at the same time BUT you don’t empower them to do or help much. Now,  you have a customer that wants to spend more money with you and you hand him to some rep juggling God knows how many conversations and cannot follow the most basic of instructions like “update my phone number to xxx-xxx-xxxx”.

If I had to write a recipe for pissing off customers and making them feel like undervalued cattle I couldn’t do a better job but that’s what happens when you have a monopoly.

We’ve Moved

We_have_movedI moved over to a new domain today. I like this one better. :) DanHutter.com will become sort of a business card site. Over at BigPoppa.org, I’ve activated and tweaked a new theme. I have lots of topics to write about but haven’t had a whole lot of time lately. Look for regular updates.