Thursday, 12 March 2015

Re: The upcoming changes to Facebook Page likers (March 12, 2015).

From time-to-time Facebook will implement changes to pages, groups or our own timelines. Some small changes may pass through with no fanfare, but other changes are announced and people have some warning to prepare themselves e.g with the implementation of the Timeline for fanpages and personal accounts. Some of these changes are met with applause (increasing the word count space in statuses, editing comments, emoticons in comments and so on), and some are met with great resistance (the introduction of the ticker). 

Before every great Facebook change there is often a great public outcry as someone usually gets the wrong end of the stick and doesn't understand the change or the new feature; this is followed by many pages owners believing the mis-information and sharing it widely in a panic, which in turn is taken up by other pages owners. Some of us actually take the time to check in with Facebook to understand the changes for ourselves or look to a site suck as or hoax-slayer for verification. Many of us try to set the record straight but at times it's like beating your head up against a really freaking hard wall. 

Right now it's that time of year where the Facebook rumour mill is working overtime and Facebook page owners are begging likers to interact with their pages, so that they do not lose the likers. What we have here is two separate issues combined into the one. Issue 1: Facebook is implementing changes as of March 12, 2015 (see here for the official info: What this basically means is, to give page owners a more accurate indication of their liker numbers Facebook will no longer included memorial accounts and voluntarily deactivated accounts amongst the liker numbers. So if your number count drops majorally on implementation of this change don't panic; you haven't actually LOST any likers. Deactivated accounts and Memorial accounts cannot interact with your page anyway, and I'm surprised it's taken this long to implement this. To be crass, having these accounts as liker numbers is similar to rigging votes with names from the cemetery ala The Simpsons. Once voluntarily deactivated accounts are reactivated your liker numbers will be adjusted accordingly. So this is not a bad change; it gives a more accurate account of the active accounts that like your page :).

As to the second half of this rumour, where page owners are being people to comment yes on certain posts to be classed as an active liker of the page, this will have no affect on the new change. However, if pages are to remain in a newsfeed the more a liker actively interacts with a page on a regular basis (through posting on the page wall, sharing posts, liking posts and commenting on posts) the more that page will show up in their newsfeed. The less you interact, the more Facebook determines, by it's algorithms, that you have lost interest in the page. This is not entirely a bad thing either. Unless you only have a few friends and like only a few pages you will never see every thing posted in your newsfeed. The reason being, it would take hours to scroll through everything that has been posted by groups, pages and friends. The reintroduction of the pages feed however made it easier for people to keep up-to-date with posts by their fav pages; one click and you can see page posts all in one place. 

Page owners need their likers to interact regularly to increase the reach of each post. But likers need their pages to post just the right amount of content so that they want to interact with the page, so this is a symbiotic relationship in many ways. But posting yes on a post is not going to be useful in "Protecting" liker numbers from being more accurate. 

So I hope this clears up the latest rumour circulating amongst page owners. Yes I do believe that Facebook has become greedier but also many page owners do not understand how pages work, they do not understand the basic premise of the algorithms and they do not want to put in any effort into running their pages. For many it is easier to follow the pack and spread rumours than it is to put the same effort into running their page effectively.

written by Bron Rauk-Mitchell

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