Blog Post

Facebook isn’t evil for blocking promotional Page posts

Facebook’s latest algorithm tweak will hit businesses the hardest: Promotional, spammy Page posts will no longer surface on people’s newsfeeds. Other less ad-like posts from Pages will still show up.

Anything that could double as a promotion will be banished by the algorithmic gods of social war. As an example, Facebook included this image:

One example Facebook gave of a spammy Page post
One example Facebook gave of a spammy Page post

Although the algorithm change might benefit users, who will see less annoying ads, it’s a blow for some businesses. Brands have spent time, resources, and money building out their Facebook following. As a result, the algorithm changes have been described as “shady,” “ridiculous,” and “pay-to-play.”

There’s an argument to be made that Facebook bait-and-switched companies, convincing them to invest in their Facebook pages without warning them they could lose their promotional power down the line. It doesn’t help the fact that Facebook benefits by restricting Page reach in this way. If businesses can’t reach users by advertising through Page posts, they’re more likely to pay Facebook for the power to do so via promoted ads.

So yes, the whole thing smells a little fishy, particularly since Facebook dumped the update on a Friday afternoon — a notorious technique for burying bad news.

But the backlash to Facebook’s move is overblown. It’s not as though the social network has banned all Page posts from appearing in newsfeeds — only the spammy ones that it says users don’t like seeing.

Users — and perhaps the Pages themselves — will benefit when businesses are forced to get more clever with their content. Social media is about more authentic forms of brand building than the traditional ad campaign. Connection, creativity, and real-time conversation can succeed here when done right, and companies should be taking advantage of that.

In this case, limiting brands’ Page spam reach is a win-win for Facebook. It will make users feel less inundated by ads on their newsfeed, and it could generate even more money for Facebook by forcing brands to pay for ads.

It’s also a lesson for businesses: Never trust the tempestuous social media gods.

5 Responses to “Facebook isn’t evil for blocking promotional Page posts”

  1. “It’s not as though the social network has banned all Page posts from appearing in newsfeeds — only the spammy ones that it says users don’t like seeing.”

    Yeah, but the question is, how nuanced is the algorhythm or criteria that is used to label a post as “spammy” or not. How wide is the net? If I post a link to a news story and then include a text link to a film my company distributes that is related to that news…is that “spammy”?

  2. How about from the users perspective? They chose to see that spam didn’t they and they can un-follow ( i assume since i am not a FB user). So facebook decided for them that they won’t like those posts despite the user choosing to see it.
    Plus if you follow a brand you might actually want the so called spam and really don’t want to waste your time with that brand “engaging”with some random person from the other end of the world, something with no relevance to you.
    If FB wanted to help the users they could let the user decide if the spam should be displayed, but this is not about that,this about them wanting to get payed, everything else is a poor excuse.and it is a big deal.Small businesses might not be able to afford to pay or if they start to censor your posts with links to articles , your revenue per click is small and can’t really afford to pay. And a race to fool the algorithms is not a viable solution and at some point they can just censor all unpayed posts and be done with it.
    Or if you want, you can look at it as net neutrality issue, FB is somewhat of a monopoly, paying for post is not net neutral. FB is a walled garden and the bigger they get the more dangerous they are, this is just a small example of that.
    This is a mistake, they are showing their true colors and they should never do that or more and more people will start to realize how dangerous FB can become. Plus they open the door to some running to other platforms that are more friendly.They need to be more Google about it and not get greedy.

    • Nikola Planic

      “They need to be more Google about it and not get greedy.”

      Are you kidding? The reason why small businesses gave up from Google and turn to social media, as a “free” way to reach to their clients, is google’s greediness. Google is doing everything it can to favor big brands in organic search and force everyone to pay them for ads.

      Try to search ANY product in Google and reach to some small business store selling it instead of amazon/ebay like greedy big brand.

      Or search for any information in google and try to find site on first page that is not either owned by google or monetized by google’s adsense.

      Then there are videos, images, maps, and all other sorts of content that Google has monopoly on.

      I just tried to search “weather in miami” on Google. They scraped everything I need from AccuWeather, so I don’t even have to visit source site, how nice of them. But why? AccuWeather is using adsense and if I click on ad they will split money and Google will earn too.

      Well it’s not enough, they want all for themselves. Google is the definition of greedy my friend.