I do think we should see the true cost of our investment decisions, including taxes and trading fees. Otherwise you could start at £100, trade 100 x at £1 a trade and lose almost all your money, but still be showing a profit if you ignore fees.
Other platforms can be quite frustrating because they only show you the profit/loss on your particular investments at that moment, but don’t show you how you’re actually doing in reality because they ignore previous trades or fees etc. so after a few years you can completely lose track of how you’re doing. It’s very easy to forget past losses and just concentrate on winners, and I think it’s nice Freetrade reminds you what your total position is. The way I see it here, the value of your assets has changed, they are down by £1, though I suspect you don’t consider anything but stocks an asset?
Like many of the decisions in freetrade, I think this was made to encourage investors to consider better ways to invest (the Insights tab features cash and bonds prominently for example, or the graphs being shown in % so that people don’t think about meaningless share prices in £ or $). Insights has certainly made me rethink the allocation of investments a bit (though I don’t have a lot in freetrade yet), I like the % graphs, and I really love this feature which is annoying you (showing all time growth minus costs), precisely because it gives a realistic picture. When they expand the info available like market cap, yield etc I hope they put similar thought into what to show.
Your assets include cash - you should probably always have some cash, and normally some bonds as part of your portfolio (though bonds are pretty terrible right now). For example Berkshire Hathaways is around 25% in cash or short term bonds at the moment (something like $128 billion).