Sometimes working with Facebook is really annoying. If they ever did bring out an unlike button I’d be all over it whenever they interrupt my feed with one of their Facebook Business posts…. But this week, my casual dislike flared to real hatred.
Three times this past week I was very clearly reminded just how self-serving Facebook are and how the social media landscape could really do with something better. Firstly, a friend of mine who I hadn’t spoken to for a while reached out to me with a private message. I like this person and I never told Facebook I didn’t. The funny things was, that after we had a bit of a catch-up on messenger all of a sudden I started seeing this persons status updates in my feed. I know Facebook thinks it knows better than I do about what I want to see in my feed, but it amazes me just how much we actually don’t see from our friends. I hadn’t seen a post from this person for months and now I am again and I am thankful. And it’s not like I have too many friends on Facebook and would drown in their updates…. I am pretty selective, I only have 107 friends and I wouldn’t have an issue if I saw all their posts, after all Facebook gives me tools that pretend to give me control, like seeing “most recent” instead of “popular” posts and the ability to unfollow people, report posts etc. But it’s all false, because Facebook knows best and decides what I should see base on some pretty flawed logic. And try as I might, I don’t see everything I want to. Like you I have to go to a friend’s page to see what is going on with them – Facebook will almost certainly not have shown me all of their posts. Meanwhile, Facebook knowing best frees up space in my feed for Facebook to bombard me with ads for pages I don’t like and suggested posts. Where’s the option to control those things? Nowhere. I have no issue with a bit of advertising. I know they need to pay the bills, but give me what I want and them I won’t get so jaded about seeing less from my friends and more from advertisers.
Secondly, a client of ours who has over 14,000 Facebook fans acquired legitimately through Facebook’s own tools sent a post live and it reached a total of 14 people after 2 hours. It was a good post and it went out at an appropriate time of the day but Facebook had decided not to share it. The problem was a stark reminder of a fundamental and significant flaw in Facebook that was brilliantly demonstrated by Veritasium in this video.
Our client, like so many, used Facebook advertising to help build more page likes back in 2012. They targeted Australian customers in their target demographic and the likes came in. But the engagement since has been low and wasn’t as good as it had been when they had a few hundred likes. It turns out that many of the new likes weren’t legit. In fact, in 2012 almost 100 million Facebook profiles were outed as being fake and removed. Ultimately, however these likes have now hampered the success of social marketing. Raising awareness for their page using Facebook advertising has bitten them in the butt. Facebook decides whether a post should go to your fans based on how engaged an initial sampling are and with so many fake likes the low engagement means that the posts don’t get distributed widely. Rather than give Facebook even more money, our client stopped all Facebook advertising and slowly but surely their posts got to fewer and fewer people and ultimately just 0.01% of their apparently legitimate fans now see their posts. And their posts are not selling, their funny and interesting. This is much the same story that has been reported by Vertasium and it is hard not to agree with their conclusion… Facebook has committed a massive fraud that it is now benefiting from by forcing fan pages to promote posts to their fans.
And in the final insult for the week, we tried to post a meme on our own Facebook page. We thought it was hilarious and wanted to ensure all of our fans saw it (no organic post ever will). So, having given in to Facebook, we decided we’d throw them a bone and boost the post for $2 after a few hours. Only one problem… Facebook don’t like people posting anything that mentions them, so they rejected it.
We thought it was a funny post and our fans would no doubt have liked it. But Facebook clearly knows better and are a little self-conscious.
I for one, have really started to be worn down by Facebook and their approach. Many of my friends have already left and many more like the social interaction but not Facebook themselves. In fact, I, like many others, think Facebook will make a lot more advertising dollars in the short term (for the fraudulent reasons above) but are on the downslope with users and could very well not be around in 5 years. And that is a certainty if something better comes along, gets enough traction and doesn’t ruin it by interfering. And I will cheer them all the way!