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I Want My Friends Back!
October 24, 2012 11:35 AM   Subscribe

In response to Facebook limiting the number of friends / fans who receive your posts (previously) while simultaneously instituting their new pay to Promote scheme, the folks at Dangerous Minds have launched a new campaign, Facebook: I Want My Friends Back!
posted by jabo (103 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you aren't paying for it... pay for it already.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:36 AM on October 24, 2012


I support this telling of the truth.
Facebook sucks.
Facebook has insinuated itself into my life anyway.

Again I must ask, where is the open source Facebook?
That, I'd pay for.
posted by philip-random at 11:44 AM on October 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Popular Person Problems.

I've somehow avoided these my entire life.
posted by srboisvert at 11:44 AM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


philip-random: that was Diaspora, and it withered on the vine.
posted by zsazsa at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Again I must ask, where is the open source Facebook?

You're soaking in it.

(Where "it" is "the internet".)
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on October 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Again I must ask, where is the open source Facebook?

If you want to subscribe to a regular feed of updates from a particular person, service, or company, RSS feeds seem like a free alternative where you get every item they publish every time.
posted by pb at 11:47 AM on October 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


Again I must ask, where is the open source Facebook?
That, I'd pay for.


app.net is not quite open-source but it is open-API and you sure do have to pay for it.
posted by komara at 11:48 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've said it before, I'll say it again: the time is ripe and getting riper for a decentralized social media protocol that lets people host profiles and receive feed updates locally, and that broadcasts status updates to an opt-in group of subscribers. The hard part is figuring out how to index profiles in a decentralized way. People already use third party services like Flickr, tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and the like to share status updates. So there's very little content-wise that Facebook brings to the table. Its contribution is really just architectural, and I'll bet 95% of that is just inertia at this point.

For a lot of people, Facebook is just a clearinghouse, a way of broadcasting to a select group of followers what you've done elsewhere online. It shouldn't be that hard to do the same thing without giving metric tons of private data to a corporation like Facebook.

The instant some busy beavers figure out how to do this, I'm off Facebook forever. And I'll bet good money I'm not the only one.
posted by R. Schlock at 11:51 AM on October 24, 2012 [23 favorites]


You know, the more we get into the political swing of things, the more I realize why I didn't really keep up with half of my Facebook friends since High School.

I'm perfectly okay with only following a select group of people. Just let me know who is/is not following me so I can go ahead and remove them from my list.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:52 AM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


This article has illuminated something I have been observing for months now. My partners posts don't show up on my feed, unless she tags me in them, so I had to create a "group" that would show me if she posted anything, but even that is wonky and sometimes tells me that she has posted something but only displays stuff from weeks ago. It's useless. For a while it was affecting my sanity, like facebook was gaslighting me and making me question the usefulness of even bothering with it. So I've started to use it less and less. To now know that they've been purposefully hiding things, that you have to use it and post regularly to get all of the features, that even on the best of days, you aren't going to be kept as informed of your friends activities as you thought you were, or that you used to be. And what is driving this? Not some technical glitch or buggy code. They are doing it on purpose. For money. That just seems inherently wrongheaded and stupid. They were the kings of the social media market, and now they are actively polluting their service to try and get money out of the users? Welcome to Internet 3.0, "Pay Up, Sucka!"
posted by daq at 11:52 AM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Seems like a lot of people are using Facebook when what they really need is a website or just a blog.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:52 AM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


What about a more private Facebook where I can share stuff with people I actually know? Actually the question is academic, since getting people to quit Facebook is impossible.
posted by selfnoise at 11:53 AM on October 24, 2012


@pb, RSS can do the broadcasting, but it doesn't have the profiling and searching features that are such a central part of the Facebook experience.
posted by R. Schlock at 11:54 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish people wouldn't use facebook as a website/blog (as our local residents' association does), since the site isn't accessible to non-members. But I realize that there aren't that many free blog/website services that are as easy to format and update as facebook.
posted by jb at 11:55 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've said it before, I'll say it again: the time is ripe and getting riper for a decentralized social media protocol that lets people host profiles and receive feed updates locally, and that broadcasts status updates to an opt-in group of subscribers.

I agree -- and was going to do something about it, until I saw tent.io is already on the way. They seem really switched on, and are avoiding the problems of Diaspora and app.net so far.
posted by fightorflight at 11:55 AM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Seems like a lot of people are using Facebook when what they really need is a website or just a blog.

Perhaps for some things, but Facebook gives users "one stop shopping" to see what all their friends are up to, in one shot. And it allows all those friends (and their friends) to comment on content, all in that one place. If everyone had their own site/blog, then I'd have to go visit 20 blogs every day, and each of those 20 people would have to visit their own set of 20 blogs, and so on. The draw of Facebook is that I can see what's going on with everyone I'm interested in, all under one roof.

I have my own site and domain, but no content there, because my family says "Oh I can't figure that out, just put it on Facebook."
posted by xedrik at 11:57 AM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I always love the moment in the movie where the villain rips off his mask and says:

"IT'S TOO LATE, FOOLS! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG! MY EVIL PLAN IS REVEALED! AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME! BWAHAHAHA!"
posted by straight at 11:58 AM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm a bit "eh" about this particular Facebook-shafting, for several reasons: first, because this is simply the latest in a long line of borderline-abuses by Facebook on its users, to the point where anyone who is surprised that they aren't requiring you to insert a quarter into a slot on the front of your PC every five minutes probably hasn't been paying attention; second, because this really only affects people using Facebook as a PR platform to reach very large audiences, and if you're using someone else's free service (as opposed to your own website) as a PR platform, or way to advertise/promote yourself or a business or a cause, you're putting yourself at their mercy, and that's never a great idea. TANSTAFFL, users are the product not the customer, etc.

What is more interesting to me is how we keep falling for this shit, time after time, and yet we just keep crawling back for the next round. Until there is a mass exit from Facebook for something else, we're just begging them to plumb the depths of exactly what people will tolerate, how much they'll pay (in time or eyeballs or in actual cash) to be part of Zuckerberg's network.

I have a sort of halfassed theory on the lifecycle of free services: at first, they're provided free because the overall cost is very low; this leads to growth, which quickly becomes unsustainable; the growth requires a capital injection, leading to more growth; but then the capital needs to be paid back, which requires that the users somehow be "monetized", and then things go downhill and feelings get hurt, because most of the ways of doing that are obnoxious. Facebook has now finished the exponential-growth phase, and is into the shady monetization and alienated-users phase. There is no way to move backwards.

The best suggestion I can make is: if you don't like it, look for a new service that's earlier in the lifecycle, with lots of VC money still to burn, because that'll give you more time to enjoy the free stuff before they start to package you up and sell you off to recoup costs. Or don't, and get used to it, because stuff like this is really the tip of the iceberg, and it'll only get worse as they get more desperate.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:58 AM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I noticed updates from certain people showing up less often unless I was tagged, as well. What's seemed to fix it is changing my news feed from "Top Stories" to "Most Recent," so it's just a chronological display of who posted what - like Facebook was when I started. I wish there were a way to turn off the Top Stories feature entirely, because sometimes it does seem to turn itself back on (usually following a rollout of new FB features), and I don't think any piece of software has ever successfully predicted what I'm going to be interested in.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:59 AM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


like facebook was gaslighting me

That is the perfect way of putting it. It's exactly what I hate about Facebook now.

pb, I still follow a ton of RSS feeds but I feel like I'm in pretty limited company these days, that RSS is mainly a "techie" thing.

Facebook ought to be ideal for short, quick notices: hey, we have this new product, hey, we restocked x, y, and z that were sold out, hey, we are having an event this Friday—minor updates that are too small to justify bothering people with emails or full blog posts. But it's not, because they keep pulling this shit. Maybe I should move toward Twitter, although I've never really bothered reading any Twitter feed regularly and for whatever reason it seems much less compelling than Facebook.
posted by enn at 12:01 PM on October 24, 2012


Also, that "campaign" page is way too prolix and rambling and messy. Needs to fit in a status update so that people can like it until it's everywhere.
posted by fightorflight at 12:01 PM on October 24, 2012


daq: "My partners posts don't show up on my feed, unless she tags me in them, so I had to create a "group" that would show me if she posted anything, but even that is wonky and sometimes tells me that she has posted something but only displays stuff from weeks ago. "

You are able to set to follow all actions by a person. I see all my wife's actions, even if it's just liking something.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:02 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


2bucksplus:
Probably 90% of people don't want to bother with a full on blog because the blog-o-sphere still requires some legitimate amount of technical knowledge to set things up. Myspace and facebook are dirt simple and easy to use, no real "cost" of having to think about things. The few things you can customize are easy and no brainers. A really real blog takes an interest in making it usable and having some kind of investment in the image that is presented. With facebook, it's like being at a party and handed a gift bag of simple toys that everyone else has and uses. You start conversations, and you can see everyone else's conversations. A blog is sitting at home, decorating your own space, and hoping people will be bothered to come over and visit so you can show off your stuff. Blogs and personal websites are much more like the "home" analogy, where people can come visit, but it's not equal footing. Totally different paradigms. Not to mention aggregation of other content from "connected" interests and friends. That's the kicker, the connnections and the ability to converse casually.
Hell, livejournal was the king for a long time of the "party" where you could see everything your friends were saying and comment and interact. Then myspace came along and added the ability to "customize" your outfit, facebook came and took away the fancy costumes and leveled the playing field. Hell, even the whole "Real Name" requirement they've been trying to do has the homogenization effect of making it a mono-culture. And now it's eating itself. As most mono-cultures do.
The worst of it? There are people who will pay. They will, and they'll feel privileged to do it. Their content is _Important_ enough that facebook is letting them pay to get it in front of more people, in their main feed, not on the side as a ad, but directly in the center of the page. Facebook just became a full on commercial ad space.
posted by daq at 12:04 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Facebook will change my "most recent" to "top stories" without my having to do anything, which is annoying.

And re: GYOB advice - I know lots of people who have their own sites, blog on yet another site, and also use facebook, because they're trying to make things as easy for their various readers as possible. Facebook's lack of transparency around this issue is assholery.
posted by rtha at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Setting aside the debate on how this affects business accounts/fan pages, it really bothers me that this 'filtering' extends to personal accounts that aren't trying to sell anything. If I share a link with my friends, I want them to at least see it, even if they aren't interested in reading the content, and I likewise want to see what they post, so I can make the decision on my own as to whether I want to read it, ignore it, or filter it entirely. Sometimes I go to friends' pages and find that there's a bunch of stuff they posted that I never saw in the News Feed and would otherwise like to have seen. Now when I post things on my own timeline I see this "promote" button, too, and I have to wonder if they really expect personal accounts to start paying to promote the cat image macro they just posted.

since getting people to quit Facebook is impossible.

Pretty much. I like the Google+ setup a fair bit in theory, and the detailed circle controls remind me a lot of the better parts of LiveJournal. But I don't use it at all, because my friends aren't actively there. The only way this is going to change is for the fad to pass (as it did with MySpace and other things in that category), either because people get bored or pissed off and the Next Big Thing comes along.

That said, Facebook is such a huge, integrated presence in people's lives now that I think it has the potential to be a lot 'stickier' than things that came before it, and we might not see that migration from service to service as easily as has happened in the past. Whatever would succeed Facebook would need to have the same low barriers to entry and more besides.

My partners posts don't show up on my feed, unless she tags me in them

I find this especially funny since Facebook's algorithm is supposed to predict who you're interested in and show you their stories more often. You would think that a romantic partner would be at the top of that list.
posted by Kosh at 12:08 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


More people should adopt my simple expedient of not having any friends.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:09 PM on October 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Chrysostom:
I have done that. It still fails to show me things in my feed. She'll ask me if I saw something she posted, I'll open facebook, look at the time she posted it, and it's not there. Heck, it's not even on her profile page when I load it, but she'll open it up and there it is. Honestly, I am trying really hard to ween myself off of facebook. I only used it for a while to keep track of people back in Las Vegas or Virginia, but really I've kind of lost interest in anything that's not local to me anymore. But when your partner posts something because they think you'll find it interesting, but you don't see it unless she tags you? That's just stupid. And as I said, before I cued on to what was happening, I really did feel like facebook was gaslighting me, and intentionally (I know, projection, etc, etc) trying to make me feel like I wasn't paying attention or that reality was shifting.
posted by daq at 12:11 PM on October 24, 2012


Facebook will change my "most recent" to "top stories" without my having to do anything, which is annoying.

in the most recent update of the android client, they have done away with the option altogether. and high among the first five items of your feed, you'll find a list of "pages you might like" to like.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:17 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


it really bothers me that this 'filtering' extends to personal accounts that aren't trying to sell anything

Yeah, you have to think there'd be almost no substantial objection to this if the pay-to-play thing were only applied to commercial entities' promotional Pages — and it strikes me as borderline bizarre and self-destructive that they don't see a distinction. That they're effectively asking us to pay to "advertise" to our friends, when what we really want to do is talk to and share with them, really drives home that Facebook, as a company, subscribes to a horrifyingly, totally commodified view of human social interaction.
posted by RogerB at 12:20 PM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't know that I've developed these anecdotes into a coherent theory yet, but I have noticed that if you track down revenue numbers and claims of active users, for multiple sets of revenue numbers and projections and claims of active users, it looks like Facebook's revenues are about $.40 (that's forty cents) per user per month.

Real hosting starts at, what, $5/month or so? And people whine about the ads.

As someone who's been blogging since before it was called blogging, at the same URL for over 14 years, I find it fascinating that for most people an online identity is worth half a candy bar a month.

I too have no sympathy: If you were helping Facebook develop content during the free period, you did so without a contract, the fact that you've tied up your business identity in an agreement that had an open-end that favored the other side seems like a bad decision.

And I also don't understand the "we need better protocols", I have a couple of email lists for things that shouldn't go outside a small group, and RSS (and several other options) for things that go wider. But I do understand that there are a few things that it'd be nice if there were cleaner web application protocols for.

But most of all, I find the revenue fascinating. In businesses where a couple of bucks per user a month is "bargain" and "just scraping by", the much hyped behemoth is making from you what you might find on the sidewalk in any given day. And when the next successor to IdentiFaceTwitPlusDiasTentSpace comes along, we'll happy switch to that too.

Because that online identity doesn't have the value that us early net adopters envisioned it having.
posted by straw at 12:21 PM on October 24, 2012


Really this only matters to those trying to spam others with their crap so I really don't care.
posted by mary8nne at 12:27 PM on October 24, 2012


in the most recent update of the android client, they have done away with the option altogether.

Yep, I only noticed that after installing the update too. Nice of them.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:28 PM on October 24, 2012


I'm having a hard time mustering much surprise or outrage over this... Facebook is a convenient and fun enough way to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances, but I've never entertained the illusion that they exist for any reason other than to mine my data and make money off of advertising.
posted by usonian at 12:29 PM on October 24, 2012


in the most recent update of the android client, they have done away with the option altogether.

Looks like I'm headed back to m.facebook.com.
posted by COD at 12:31 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This might explain why a good number of my friends didn't see our pregnancy announcements recently*. Slightly annoying that FB has become such a big deal with big life changes like that while at the same time pulling this stuff. Oh well... next!

*If you need to know, we're out of town/out of the continent, so it helps to tell people this way.
posted by melt away at 12:35 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gaslighting is a good way to describe what it feels like.

I still think some of Facebook's motivation isn't just to sell paid promotion.

For an analogy, I subscribe to RSS feeds for any blogs I read regularly, and there's a behaviour pattern to this. Once I've subscribed to something, I never unsubscribe for failing to post things I want to read, but I'll unsubscribe if they post too many things I don't want to read. ( If you see the difference. ) So an RSS feed that hasn't updated in six months I'll stay subscribed to, but a blog that posted one good thing six months ago, followed by daily posts complaining about Obama, I'm going to lose the patience to wade through that chaff. Facebook might be clumsily trying to give people only what they want to read without the chaff. Like Google "correcting" my spelling or Clippy formatting my Word documents for me.
posted by RobotHero at 12:38 PM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.

This is a clear conflict of interest. The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories.
That's not a conflict of interest. That's what happens when somebody controls a big chunk of the internet. Facebook is like the Bavarian king who knocked down all the bridges along the river so the only place for the salt caravans to cross was through Munich and so he could levy a tax on it.
posted by deathpanels at 12:40 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This has been on my mind a lot this week. I feel the shittiness of Facebook's algorithm most keenly when I make a status update and it doesn't even show up in my own 'recent stories' feed.

It makes me really miss the old days of LiveJournal.
posted by trunk muffins at 12:46 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


in the most recent update of the android client, they have done away with the option altogether.

It's still there - tap the main menu icon in the upper-left corner. Next to "News Feed" is a settings icon where you can toggle back to most recent.

It still seems to constantly forget this preference, though.
posted by Wossname at 12:57 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding the Android app, the "most recent" option is still there, it's just not as accessible (not that it really matters since it randomly resets back to top stories on its own, ugh.) Instead of being its own separate button, you now have to go into the menu on the left side and click on the settings gear next to News Feed.
posted by flod logic at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


daq: you're not crazy; that's exactly my experience with Facebook and my husband's posts. No matter how I set my feed I don't see anything he posts. I don't see anything my sister posts either. Frankly, of all the people in my feed, theirs are the only posts I would prefer never to miss. But I suppose Facebook assumes I'll just walk into the next room if I want to know what's up with my husband.

I wish Facebook weren't so easy, so popular, and basically, so useful for the purposes of casual connections and ambient awareness of people you're more closely connected to. I wish it weren't so easy to get people who have no interest in maintaining even a flickr account to sign up for Facebook because increasingly the experience of Facebook is just frustrating. It thwarts its utility to users, but that hasn't changed its dominance.

"Gaslighting", totally.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:03 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, the worst thing is, I still load up livejournal a few times a week, but mostly it's just to keep up with the few people who still post more personal and "really friends only" content there. That and a few RSS feeds (you knew Livejournal could post RSS content into your Friends view, right?) of FML and a couple of bloggers who I prefer to keep track of outside of my Google Reader RSS lists.

The discussions there are always more thought out, more cogent, and generally less trivial and banal than simply "liking" what someone posts. If someone posts something, you _have_ to comment to show your approval, not just click a simple "like" button and move on. Some people hate that, but I love that it makes you think about what you are commenting on, rather than just a one click, almost incidental "I saw you posted this and I am acknowledging it without comment or care".

This thread is going to turn into DAQ's issues with facebook/social media, isn't it...
posted by daq at 1:05 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Harvest time for the friending vendors.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:09 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the Android client, you can still change to "most recent". Click the menu button on the left, then the gear icon next to "news feed". It still randomly changes back whenever it feels like, but at least it's still there.

Now how anyone would want top stories and not most recent, I have no idea. Maybe if you have 1000 friends?
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:10 PM on October 24, 2012


Why Do We Hate Facebook?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:14 PM on October 24, 2012


Kadin2048: " have a sort of halfassed theory on the lifecycle of free services: at first, they're provided free because the overall cost is very low; this leads to growth, which quickly becomes unsustainable; the growth requires a capital injection, leading to more growth; but then the capital needs to be paid back, which requires that the users somehow be "monetized", and then things go downhill and feelings get hurt, because most of the ways of doing that are obnoxious"

Counterpoint: Craigslist.

*Aside from their weirdly-draconian policies on scraping data, although that's another issue that doesn't really fit into this discussion.
posted by schmod at 1:33 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Facebook is like the Bavarian king who knocked down all the bridges along the river so the only place for the salt caravans to cross was through Munich and so he could levy a tax on it.

This is why I love Metafilter. The only place on the Internet where a discussion about Facebook might include an analogy to a 12th-century monarch.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 1:43 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


you knew Livejournal could post RSS content into your Friends view, right?

Yeah there was a brief period of time, before I canceled my LJ subscription and walked away from the site entirely after getting fed up with its administration consistently ignoring the user community, when I used this. Oh well. Can't go home again.
posted by trunk muffins at 1:44 PM on October 24, 2012


Not when home has moved to Russia.
posted by maryr at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, some of my Facebook friends I don't really want back.
posted by ckape at 1:55 PM on October 24, 2012


Funnily enough, if you access your news feed through the API, you get all posts - the only ones missing are the ones where your friends have disallowed unknown apps to access their info. So in theory an unofficial client might be better than the official one.
posted by ymgve at 1:55 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Dangerous Minds article asserts that before the pay-to-play policy change, every fan of their page saw every single update.

But surely that can't be true. I wasn't seeing updates from all my pages before this change, and I don't even think that would be possible; some people are fans of many hundreds of pages and seeing them all would means hundreds of fan page updates per day.

As bad as this is, it seems an exaggeration to characterize this as penetration going from 100% to 15%.
posted by dontjumplarry at 2:01 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really this only matters to those trying to spam others with their crap so I really don't care.

Except that it doesn't. We've got multiple example of people not seeing their partner's posts, their friends. If it only affected the commercial crap, I'd be all for it. But this... ugh.
posted by neilbert at 2:03 PM on October 24, 2012


We use a Facebook fan page to reach out to those interested in the art we make and teach (many of whom are not able or unwilling to visit our blog, use rss, etc.). The last few months I was busy trying to figure out why the response to our posts had dropped so precipitously. Going to the "Help" page just got a lot of other posts asking the same question, "what's happening?". Until today, I had no idea about this new policy.

Why didn't Facebook do a better job of letting people know about this change instead of sneaking it in? As the article in DM said, how wise is it to adopt a business model that will piss off the folks who built your business in the first place?

Most of our followers are probably thinking that we are on vacation or; worse yet, gone out of business, because they aren't seeing our posts. It reminds me of the old Soviet photos where the disgraced politburo member is airbrushed out. We just don't exist now.

I get that FB is a big corporation now and they get to do what they want to make money. If they had been upfront about the change, on a help page that actually provided it and with a more modest fee schedule; it would have been hunky dory.

This just seems like a bad Halloween prank.
posted by jabo at 2:04 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]



since getting people to quit Facebook is impossible.

I wonder whether it would be possible to set up a Facebook Parallel Universe (FPU) site to get around this.

As I'm imagining it, you'd put something in your browser to automatically post a non-infringing version of whatever you posted to Facebook to FPU as well.

Which would be useless at first, of course, because Facebook would have rights to the stuff that others contribute to your Facebook page, and would never permit that material to appear on FPU.

Unless that other also had an FPU account, and then that other's posts could also appear on your FPU.

You could make it grow by encouraging all your friends to get an FPU account, and if enough people and institutions joined it could become a viable alternative to Facebook, all without ever compromising any use you chose to make of your Facebook page.

You could even continue to maintain your Facebook page indefinitely, and you'd probably want to. You'd just visit Facebook a lot less often and rely on FPU for most things.

It saddens me that you could probably never get away with calling it efFacebook, though.
posted by jamjam at 2:09 PM on October 24, 2012


I find this especially funny since Facebook's algorithm is supposed to predict who you're interested in and show you their stories more often. You would think that a romantic partner would be at the top of that list.

My guess would be that from Facebook's perspective, it doesn't seem like you're that interested in your partner's Facebook activity. I almost never look at my wife's activity, because most of the time, I'm already participating in it, or else she and I have already had the conversation offline. In person, like our grandparents used to.
posted by gauche at 2:16 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really this only matters to those trying to spam others with their crap so I really don't care.

Spam means unsolicited commercial messages. It's not spam if people sign up for it willingly.

The problem with Twitter as an alternative is that it's just kind of a mess. Let's say you want to follow a band. You go to their twitter feed and it's three-quarters responses to other people's questions or jokes or whatever. There is no post/comment distinction as with Facebook, where you can clearly see what is an important notice about their upcoming show or new CD vs what is banter with friends or a response to someone's question about a minor detail.

Plus, instead of seeing pictures that look like pictures and links that have helpful descriptive link text, you see a mess of line-noise-looking twitpics URLs and shortened URLs and @this and #that. It's ugly and confusing.
posted by enn at 2:17 PM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can imagine Zuckerberg sitting at a conference table with his cat airquoting "User-fees" while his board listens intently.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:27 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I might have missed this, but I haven't seen anyone else mention how this might be a way for Facebook to capitalize mobile users.

As I understand it a disproportionate amount of users access FB by way of their smartphones and other portable devices than they do through a desktop/laptop browser. However, the mobile app doesn't really provide a revenue stream because there is no place for ads.

I noticed a few updates ago (on my Android phone) that the promotions from pages I had liked (Amazon, the only page I had/have liked) were now taking up the entire screen when I scrolled past it - pretty good ad real estate, really.

I thought at the time 'well, if they can generate revenue from those, it seems like their mobile woes are put to rest.' And now I see all this promotional business and it makes sense: they've figured a way to get paid content onto mobile.

Except they forgot to do it in a way that doesn't alienate a large portion of their customers (who use their platform for PR) who can't afford to keep scale.

But I can't believe that they're so stupid as to really think that there would NOT be a backlash to this from smaller companies who can't afford the fees. So, is it possible, then, that FB are only interested in keeping the major players (Coke, Amazon, Sony, etc) who can afford to dedicate $20 million (or whatever princely sum a year) to promoting their product via the Facebook platform, rather than traditional ads?

Because now that I think about it, putting ads in your product and not just on the site itself (which aren't visible on mobile apps AND can be hidden with ad blockers) is diabolical.
posted by Tevin at 2:31 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the vein of open-source Facebook, I recently came across a GNU project called MediaGoblin that seems to have some inertia. For the moment it seems that they're focusing on being a parallel to Flickr and Youtube and more video-and-photos-specific social sites but if they're successful there they seem to have enough ambition to go further.
posted by XMLicious at 2:32 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still reeling that they're pitching the "Promote" feature to regular users. As if I'll stick up the most recent Video Of A Cat Doing Something Adorable, and then think "You know what? I might go grab my credit card and hand over USD $10 so that more people might see this."

AS IF ANY SORT OF PERSON WOULD ACTUALLY DO THAT

I see it for anyone with a band/product/company Page, but the thought that Joe Schmoe would give up Cash Money to do this is terrifying to me.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:27 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just as a side question: If you put somebodies into a group on FB and then look at that group, don't you get all the posts from that group? Or has that changed as well?
posted by Sparx at 3:28 PM on October 24, 2012


I've been playing around with promotions for my band page on Facebook during the last couple of months, and I still haven't figured out why I'm so popular with 13-17 year old males in Mexico City.
posted by malocchio at 3:52 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


ominous_paws: A "friend" of mine has taken to doing this. It's equal parts terrifying and illuminating.
posted by jeffch at 4:10 PM on October 24, 2012


If I share a link with my friends, I want them to at least see it, even if they aren't interested in reading the content, and I likewise want to see what they post, so I can make the decision on my own as to whether I want to read it, ignore it, or filter it entirely.

Right. You are in a position where Facebook can offer you something that you want. When a company is in this position, they can charge you for it.
posted by escabeche at 4:42 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Facebook is clearly driving itself off a cliff with this move. When your central value is to foster communication between friends and then you remove 85% of that communication right off the bat, there's going to be problems. The biggest problem is that you have no way of knowing who did or didn't see your message. You have no control and no understanding, it's like shouting into the void. All this will do for normal people is foster the feeling that no one is listening to them.
posted by lubujackson at 5:10 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Facebook is clearly driving itself off a cliff with this move.

I feel like this is an oft-repeated phrase, and yet the ignorance and/or stupidity of the general userbase continues to surprise, every time. So I wouldn't hold my breath for this, either.
posted by Geektox at 5:32 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


but it really is a utility problem. People use Facebook to talk to one another; they talk to one another on Facebook by posting things and by seeing postings and responding to the things they see posted. If you don't know if a posting will be seen, if you don't know if anyone else is seeing the post you're responding to, there is no utility to posting.

People might value Facebook enough to pay a small subscription. Or there might be ways to make premium user accounts. But paying for a particular post to be visible your friends is not viable. It breaks the utility by forcing you to quantify each individual post, by nickelanddiming you, by highlighting your friend who keeps paying to "promote" himself as a blowhard with more money than sense.
posted by crush-onastick at 5:46 PM on October 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why didn't Facebook do a better job of letting people know about this change instead of sneaking it in?

Because it's a de facto admission that their much touted advertising model has failed and it would tank their stock price (further) if they just came out and said that.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


FIRST!

[+$10]
posted by mazola at 5:52 PM on October 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did people actually think that 100% of their posts were being seen by 100% of their friends/fans all along? Seriously?

Ever since their big revamp a few years ago (before timeline) it seemed to be fairly common knowledge that your chances if seeing a post varied based on your "participation" with that person (via "likes" and comments) and that if you stopped interacting with someone, Facebook would assume you were less interested in them, and keep it off your newsfeed. For people with lots of friends and interests (say, 1000+ of each) it would be impossible to keep track of anything, as your newsfeed would refill faster than you could read it.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:08 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to rant and rave about this, but basically the problem is that Facebook is giving people what they want. People want Facebook to be a magically curated experience that has no relationship to old school blogging where you saw everything that was in everyone's feed. Instead, they want to friend/subscribe/follow hundreds and hundreds of people, complain that there's too much crap, and then delight when it gets filtered into a finely tuned echo chamber for them. They couldn't care less how that process happens, and if you bother to try and explain what's grotesque about it, they'll probably just Hide you for being annoying.

I hate the use case I'm describing, but it's what most people I know are not only fine with but happy with. I'm not just talking about "kids these days" either.

I had a really depressing conversation about this with someone I know who does what she considers "activism" or "education" through Facebook regarding various liberal and conservationist issues...her main line is actually social network marketing for small businesses and NPOs. She's older than I am, and I'm an experienced online media professional that remembers Winsock and Mosaic. I suggested that she just run a traditional open blog to reach more people, because it would be public, and she recoiled in horror asserting that nothing she puts online with regard to those subjects would ever be public. She added a couple of quick explanations about trolling and time sinks, but basically what she was saying is an echo chamber was her whole goal, nothing off message, ever. In fact when I posted a couple things to her Wall (before Timeline) soon after, she removed them because I hadn't e-mailed her first to make sure they were in line with her, for lack of a better description, echo flavor. She also got pretty upset with me when I commented on a Wall post with a dissenting opinion on anything.

I describe this situation not because I disagree with one person about, well, the very nature of the web I guess, but because I think this is the dominant paradigm where "social networking" is concerned now and that folks who read metafilter probably represent a very small overall minority in taking any issue with all this.
posted by trackofalljades at 6:11 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


it seemed to be fairly common knowledge that your chances if seeing a post varied based on your "participation" with that person (via "likes" and comments) and that if you stopped interacting with someone, Facebook would assume you were less interested in them, and keep it off your newsfeed

Oh, how I wish this were true. Especially for that one former co-worker. But no, despite my disinclination to "like" her posts or comment on them, she shows up consistently.
posted by rtha at 6:24 PM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The link in the original post above really only applies to business pages or perhaps "group" or "community" pages - there is no reason for personal users of Facebook to promote their own posts so that their Facebook friends can see them, and even talking about "followers" in the context of personal Facebook use is ridiculous.

I use Facebook both for work, managing a number of business pages and ad campaigns on behalf of clients, and personally as a virtual water cooler (I'm a marketing writer and rarely leave my home office, sadly).

In my personal FB "life", I haven't noticed any changes in the algorithm at all over the past 6 months. I tend to post a lot of photos (hint: the FB algo favours photos) and comment on friends' posts, and as a result I have a pretty broad interaction with a lot of people.

I think the changes to the business page algorithm are kind of annoying, but we really only use FB as a "search signal" to demonstrate to Google that our clients are active in social media, and therefore need to be ranked higher, than as a lead gen or conversion tool.

Fundamentally, FB has really been discredited as an online marketing platform (ad performance is laughably bad), although there is some hype recently that the company is somehow gaining traction in the online space.

So I don't quite get the point of this post.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:04 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, I've been monitoring my feed pretty closely and I do indeed notice a prevalence of some people, and a just a smattering of others, but that if I reload often enough, eventually, to the best I can tell, everyone's posts (friends and pages) are presented to me at least once. And this has lead me to wonder, if it isn't so much a monetisation issue as an engineering one. Or at least, if it isn't just a monetisation issue. I wonder, if you need to return a page to the user in some reasonable amount of time, then maybe you don't go out of your way to make it an entirely comprehensive, chronological listing. If a query is taking too long you don't need to worry, just drop it and it can get lost in the fuzz. So if it isn't practical (or even particularly necessary) to show every story every time, you start trying to optimise it so at least what is shown will be mostly what the user is interested in anyway. And, in my imagined scenario at least, this is the point where the money men come in and say, well what if we charged people to selectively override the optimisation and rig the algorithm in their favour.

Or for the tl;dr version... is it possible that even if facebook weren't bastards, we still wouldn't see everyone's posts all the time due to platform limitations?
posted by adamt at 7:29 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The link in the original post above really only applies to business pages or perhaps "group" or "community" pages - there is no reason for personal users of Facebook to promote their own posts so that their Facebook friends can see them, and even talking about "followers" in the context of personal Facebook use is ridiculous.

I wish you were right, but you're incorrect. The exact same thing has been going on with profiles for some time, and this business with pages is just bringing it to the fore. It costs less, something like $7 instead of $200 if I recall, but nobody on Facebook is currently being seen by all their friends anymore. The "important" algorithm is in full control now, as well as a bunch of voodoo based on what your friends Like, and you have no control over either. If you want to post to all your friends reliably, you have to Promote now.
posted by trackofalljades at 7:30 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friend recently posted on Facebook to let his close friends know that his wife had had a miscarriage. He wanted to let everyone know at once to avoid either of them having to handle a bunch of repeated, painful explanations to unwitting but well-intentioned friends. Facebook helpfully offered to let him promote his post for $5 if he really wanted to get the word out. Very thoughtful, Facebook.
posted by TheCowGod at 9:38 PM on October 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


In order to replace Facebook, something would have to draw a lot of users. Even G+ hasn't done that (yet), it's going to take something pretty dramatic to make FB go down the drain.

I have a very limited circle of friends on FB, and none of them are interested in switching.. to anything. I've tried. Many of them don't even use Twitter, and certainly not Instagram or any of those other sites. I enjoy reading their posts and interacting with them on it, so I can't switch either, as much as I want to.

Sure, I could stop using it, but that doesn't do me any good either when I actually use the service.

And to draw users, it has to be easy to use. A lot of people don't know anything about their fancy "email machines". Getting a huge group of people to use a complicated (to them) decentralized service that they wouldn't even begin to understand is out of the question.

A lot of people are still confused by Facebook's new layout, much less a new service.

But, I would switch, if I could.

I even gave G+ another chance when I swore I wouldn't. It's not great but I think it's better than Facebook. It just came a bit too late. Or, maybe too early. People weren't fed up enough with FB yet.
posted by Malice at 9:52 PM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, is it possible, then, that FB are only interested in keeping the major players (Coke, Amazon, Sony, etc) who can afford to dedicate $20 million (or whatever princely sum a year) to promoting their product via the Facebook platform, rather than traditional ads?

I manage one of those major players' Facebook campaigns, and let me just say that we're furious. I have a five-digit Facebook monthly ad spend, yet my reach and engagement have been docked 40 to 60 percent given the day. I can show you the exact time the algorithm change went into effect. I have content that can pull 250,000 people on average. I now struggle to get 50,000 unless I shell out $2-3,000 PER POST to promote to that number.

I can also tell you we're definitely looking to scale back Facebook operations. Being hit in the pocketbook twice for being successful is not a good business model for us, and hopefully Facebook will realize it's not good for them, either.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 10:42 PM on October 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


If everyone had their own site/blog, then I'd have to go visit 20 blogs every day, and each of those 20 people would have to visit their own set of 20 blogs, and so on.

That's what feed readers are for, like Google Reader or Flipbook. I subscribe to all of my friends' blogs, even if they only update twice a year, because I know that if they've got something to say I'll see it for sure. I wish more people would blog again.
posted by harriet vane at 11:47 PM on October 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hot Like Your 12V Wire: I sympathize. I have the added problem that I'm running the page for an adult retailer, and I *can't* pay to advertise. Anything adult - even the stuff I'm selling, lubricant and knickers and shit you can get at fucking Target - violates terms of services and they refuse to accept your cash.

So I know exactly the point you're talking about, where the algorithms changed. I went from having a few hundred views per post to scraping up thirty or forty. Out of 700 odd subscribers. We're only little guys, but the changes really hammered us, and it's hard to explain why to my boss, who signed us up back when Facebook was the Great Free PR Machine, and who has difficulty understanding why I can't convert those 700 subscribers into more sales.

There's an interesting aside to interacting with adult on Facebook: I have two accounts. I know, naughty naughty. One is my work account, with all my industry contacts, and the other is my private, with my grandad and my mum and whatnot. You can see why I'd want to keep that as separate as possible, especially since FB is really relaxed with your security settings and posting settings.

Both my accounts are administrators on the shop's page. It's really, really common for me to post something to the shop page and have my private account miss it completely, even though both are administrators. Not just Liked. Not just subscribed. Administrator.

If I can't get fellow admins to see what my page is posting, how in the hell can I expect to actually reach my audience?

It's fucking ridiculous. And it's not going to change. Unless you have two accounts, you're never really going to get an idea of how much you're missing. And people have too much emotional investment in the FB feeds. It's a community thing. Unless you can get the whole community - the aforementioned mums and grandparents and my sisters who only ever access it on their phones - to move en mass, they won't move at all. Why would they? All their friends are on Facebook.
posted by Jilder at 11:52 PM on October 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


If you want to post to all your friends reliably, you have to Promote now.

I have something like 350 FB "friends" but there is only a small group that I really want to interact with. Is there some reason to want to broadcast to everyone, all the time? If so, it's also possible to send out a message to everyone in your contacts. Friends overseas do this when they are returning "home" for a visit.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:04 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have something like 350 FB "friends" but there is only a small group that I really want to interact with. Is there some reason to want to broadcast to everyone, all the time?

The difference is in part that you can't really ensure which friends will be seeing your unpromoted messages-- sure, you can create smaller, more targeted lists, but you can no longer assume that the even the people in those lists will all have access to it. There are a lot of things that aren't especially well-served by messages-- moving announcement, being in the hospital, engagements, job-related questions...I mean, honestly, most of my 600-odd friends don't live in the same state (or country), but I enjoy hearing about their lives and their new graduate degrees and loves and plays. I don't especially want to wade through 600 inbox announcements.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:07 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Spam means unsolicited commercial messages. It's not spam if people sign up for it willingly.

Exactly. I'm no longer seeing as many messages from fan sites I specifically signed up for because I want to see their updates.

People like Anne Rice, Fr. James Martin and George Takei are people who post lots of interesting content I want to see, and relatively little promotional stuff. Plus, I do want to know when they publish something new, so I don't consider those postings to be spam either.

I keep a relatively small friends list, but I don't have the time or inclination to go to everybody's page to see if I've missed anything. And even if I did, there's no guarantee that any of them are going to do the same for me, so what's the point in posting, really? And once more people figure this out, nobody is going to want to "waste" their good stuff on Facebook or post anything they need to be sure everyone on their list can see.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:36 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


In an upcoming, ripped from the headlines episode of Law and Order: SVU there will be a crime committed where the victim called for help on Facebook, but nobody answered. The victim's name will be Jen O'Veece.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:48 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Most of our followers are probably thinking that we are on vacation or; worse yet, gone out of business, because they aren't seeing our posts. It reminds me of the old Soviet photos where the disgraced politburo member is airbrushed out. We just don't exist now.

Not true! You could totally exist, just give them $40 and they'll heavily promote your latest post!
Yeesh.

I have a facebook fan page and I too noticed a dramatic drop of people seeing / responding to posts, and yeah most people had no idea what we were up to. So facebook broke what we had, and is offering to put it back to how it was for $$$.
I have a blogspot as well, but sadly most of the fans don't use RSS, so are none the wiser. I just get occassional emails like "oh I thought you were dormant, but then I checked your web page and saw all the new content. How come you didn't update us?"
posted by Theta States at 7:51 AM on October 25, 2012


Here's what's weird to me. I see the "Promote" link on my personal Facebook page when I post something. But when I post something on my business's fan page—which you would think would be the much more typical use case for the "Promote" feature—the link is not there. That page is relatively new and has a low number of Likes, so perhaps it falls below a certain threshold where the "Promote" link appears?

God how I loathe this opaque gaslighting bullshit; I wish Facebook would just say "hey, we're going to charge you a monthly fee to have a fan page for a for-profit enterprise, x cents per fan" or something and be done with it.
posted by enn at 8:00 AM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


the only ones missing are the ones where your friends have disallowed unknown apps to access their info.

No one who allows unknown apps to access their info deserves to be my friend.
posted by straight at 8:13 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


The thing that interests me the most about this is that what has become a primary form of social communication for a whole lot of people has -- deliberately -- been turned into a highly unreliable form of communication.

A lot of people use Facebook for wedding announcements, baby announcements, party invitations, and the like -- this sort of thing just isn't going to work anymore (what good is a party invitation if 85% of the people you're inviting aren't even going to see it?). And it's going to take a while for most of the not-so-technically-inclined people to really realize that this tool they've been using to keep in touch with their friends isn't really doing that.

You have to wonder what kind of effect that's going to have on society in the meantime.
posted by ook at 8:50 AM on October 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have a blogspot as well, but sadly most of the fans don't use RSS, so are none the wiser. I just get occassional emails like "oh I thought you were dormant, but then I checked your web page and saw all the new content. How come you didn't update us?"

Off topic but I strongly suggest you use a mail list. I'm an rss feed subscriber to all kinds of sites but it is important to know that rss isn't perfect either. Readers can fail to scrape for one reason or another. I've had all kinds of sites drop off my radar because the readers I use weren't picking up their updates. Likewise I have ditched some websites because everytime they update their website they republish their entire rss feed.

Mail lists on the other hand tend to work really well. It is reliable, low cost, old tech that most people understand with very few pitfalls.
posted by srboisvert at 10:24 AM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why didn't Facebook do a better job of letting people know about this change instead of sneaking it in?

They did but nobody got to see that status update because they didn't pay themselves to promote it.
posted by srboisvert at 11:14 AM on October 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mail lists on the other hand tend to work really well. It is reliable, low cost, old tech that most people understand with very few pitfalls.

Thanks for the reinforcement, I was thinking of introducing this back in to my site, after abandoning them 5 years back.
I've learned that I just can't trust any external service for more than 3-4 years. So now I manage my own site, build my own programs, run my own DB, etc., and things have been much more stable.
posted by Theta States at 11:23 AM on October 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a blogspot as well, but sadly most of the fans don't use RSS, so are none the wiser. I just get occassional emails like "oh I thought you were dormant, but then I checked your web page and saw all the new content. How come you didn't update us?"

Off topic but I strongly suggest you use a mail list.


It's like I fell into a conversation from the 90's!
posted by Malice at 7:38 PM on October 25, 2012


The facebook support forums are blowing up with people wondering why nobody can see their feeds, or why they can't see anyone else's feeds. FB is not responding at all to those questions.

There needs to be some media traction on this that isn't a "look out facebook is screwing US", but instead is a "look at how facebook is screwing YOU". I'm astonished that some of the bigger tech publications haven't gotten on this story yet.
posted by dejah420 at 8:29 AM on October 26, 2012


The facebook support forums are blowing up with people wondering why nobody can see their feeds, or why they can't see anyone else's feeds. FB is not responding at all to those questions.

I do not think I've ever seen facebook respond to any complaint on their Support forums. It is just a place to simmer with other frustrated users, I think.
posted by Theta States at 5:47 PM on October 26, 2012


There needs to be some media traction on this that isn't a "look out facebook is screwing US", but instead is a "look at how facebook is screwing YOU". I'm astonished that some of the bigger tech publications haven't gotten on this story yet.

Honestly, I'm not surprised. A lot of brands have become utterly shameless when it comes to using Facebook and treat their customers like five year olds. Condescending Corporate Brand Page does a great job of pointing out a lot of these, especially those that are blatant grabs for reach numbers.

I don't blame Facebook users for not wanting to see this crap, and I'm sure there are more than a few people who see the algorithm change as a net positive. Gaming the system with horrible, firehosed content is seriously not cool. I'd rather see pages have a cap on updates than having reach docked, though.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 6:18 PM on October 26, 2012


It's like I fell into a conversation from the 90's!

I'm not sure if you were being dismissive of the mailing list idea or just lulzy, but just because mailing lists have been around for a while doesn't mean they're not good at their job, and in fact I think they're probably better in lots of ways than the current obsession with 'social media' (which apparently doesn't include email).

This latest FB debacle is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how becoming reliant on a free service for your PR communications is a Really Bad Idea. Switching from Facebook to Twitter isn't much better, since there's not much of a guarantee (aside from the fact that the people who run Twitter don't seem like quite as much a raging set of assholes as the people who run Facebook) that they won't do something similar any day now.

Bed with dogs, fleas, etc.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:39 PM on October 27, 2012


A lot of people use Facebook for wedding announcements, baby announcements, party invitations, and the like -- this sort of thing just isn't going to work anymore (what good is a party invitation if 85% of the people you're inviting aren't even going to see it?).

Who would use a timeline post for a party invitation? They have event invites specifically for that purpose.

Also, the "15% visibility" figure being constantly quoted is an average, and unless I'm mistaken, referred to fan / corporate pages with thousands of followers. I'd be pretty surprised if someone with 30 friends was only being seen by 4 of them.

Want to see more posts by your favorite TV show or celebrity? Subscribe to them (don't just "like" them) and add them to your "interests" page. After that, start "liking" their posts, and leaving comments.

In short, use Facebook the way it's (clearly) intended to be used, and chances are, you'll live.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:12 PM on October 27, 2012


I've been using Facebbok the way it's intended to be used. I no longer see posts by my husband or best friends, while my feed fills up with the firehose content I never subscribed to or liked or even looked at, but my cousins 'like' it so FB has decided I should be informed every time they click the little thumb icon. As with security settings, getting relevant content in your newsfeed is a constantly moving target. It's possible this is some brilliant business strategy, but it seems more like the owners don't actually understand why people use the service. I'm okay with giving up some demographic data as long as I get a reliable newsfeed in exchange, but they keep moving the goalposts.
posted by harriet vane at 8:55 AM on October 29, 2012


I gave up on Facebook when they introduced the "most recent" / "top stories" menu that refused to remember my "most recent" preference. I have a very clear idea of how I want a news feed to work and it does not include an opaque, uncontrollable curation mechanism. When the point is made that my preferences are not to be considered in the delivery of my content, I take it as given that my participation is no longer essential.

And if most of my acquantances and family don't communicate with me any longer, that's fine. I might ungenerously be grateful as the sort of people who don't object to Facebook's meddlesome mediation of their social interactions are probably not going to miss my black humour and fighty rants anyhow.

FB is the internet version of daytime television, anyway. Full of bland advertisements, comforting interactions and non-threatening pabulum.

Nope.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:07 AM on October 29, 2012


After that, start "liking" their posts, and leaving comments.

Now this is interesting. From other parts of the internet, I've become habituated to leaving comments when I have something to say.

Are they going to have to crank up the filter to filter out all the extra meaningless comments, now that the filter itself has made meaningless comments a necessity?
posted by RobotHero at 1:00 PM on October 29, 2012


Well, at this point Facebook doesn't have very many metrics to gauge how interested you are in a particular subject/feed other than your participation (which currently consists of nothing more than "liking" a post or commenting on it) The "subscribe" option is also available.

A future option might be to lower the threshold for truncating posts (requiring a click to "continue reading") in order to track which items have caught your attention.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:25 AM on October 30, 2012


My problem is that the type of participation FB uses to judge my interest keeps changing. A 'continue reading' click is just more of the same problem, not an actual solution.

At first I just had to friend someone. Then I had to like some of their items. Then I had to like more of them. Then I had to leave comments. Meanwhile, the amount of stuff I never expressed an interest in yet shows up in my newsfeed anyway (ads, game updates, etc) keeps increasing, crowding out the parts I want to interact with.

Like the security settings, it's a moving target. Eventually I suppose I'll have to be maintaining an ongoing active conversation with someone to find out what's going on in their life - not a problem, but a type of interaction I can more easily do with email or over the phone than Facebook, so why should I be there after all?

The original selling point of FB for users was that it easily enabled phatic communication and allowed you to keep in casual touch with a wide range of people. Restricting phatic communication and the range of people I see is the exact opposite of what I joined for. If I leave, they lose the demographic/advertising-relevant data they seem so hell-bent on getting from me. Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs isn't a sustainable business strategy.
posted by harriet vane at 7:24 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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