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April 11, 2014 4:11 AM   Subscribe

Eat24 explains why they're done with Facebook. They're not the first to notice problems with Facebook' business model. (previously). But it's not just businesses affected. people have been noticing a drop in their friends posts for a while. Facebook limits the users reach, and asks them to pay to ensure your friends see it.
posted by [insert clever name here] (136 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can understand Facebook thinking businesses should pay to promote their posts, but why on Earth Aunt Bea should have to give them money so that everyone in the family can see her phone snaps of Huggles is utterly beyond me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:33 AM on April 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


Facebook is evil. There, I said it. I dumped my account over two years ago, and never looked back. I don't really miss it at all.
posted by valkane at 4:33 AM on April 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


Rainn Wilson was recently making the same point.
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:40 AM on April 11, 2014


What are the decent alternatives nowdays?
I've been pondering having a break or switching, but end up staying mainly for keeping up with the local events.
posted by Arkki at 4:47 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Help an old-timer here: Isn't the point of capitalism profit?
posted by larry_darrell at 4:50 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


The issue here a bit overblown. Facebook is making hard choices about spam. They've chosen to limit posts from businesses that are getting ignored in favor of delivering them only to engaged users, and not showing every single event from every single friend in your news feed.

Google made the same sort of decisions with Panda. Facebook is going a different route than Twitter, but not an altogether bad one, given their design.
posted by Vhanudux at 4:51 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine them not being willing to exploit their status as a dominant (and, for many people, exclusive) content channel by charging access premiums.

I doubt it was Zuckerberg's intention all along. There might not have been plans for it until shortly before the new system was put in place. But that doesn't make it seem less inevitable to an outsider like me. New means of income are irresistible, particularly when all it takes is an in-house software update.

Just keep this event in mind every time you read about another acquisition Facebook has made.
posted by ardgedee at 4:54 AM on April 11, 2014


I think the problem Facebook may wind up having is that people will migrate away from Facebook because they no longer see what they want to see and can't even choose to do so, and that will make it a lot less likely that brands will pay to reach people on Facebook.

As far as it being a response to spam, if that were the issue, they'd give users the option to choose to see all the posts from a particular person, business or organization if they wish. They don't offer that option, so it's not a response to spam, I don't think. Even spam filters let you decide to whitelist people; Facebook has no such option.

Furthermore, "posts from businesses that are getting ignored" is a long way from "posts people aren't commenting on." The point of the FB feed of somebody like Rainn Wilson is to share updates, and the point of receiving those updates is to go read what he wrote, not to comment on it on Facebook. Somebody not commenting on Facebook doesn't mean they're ignoring the post.

I mean, I'm not saying they don't have the right to do it, but it's a charge for reaching followers, not a pro-user anti-spam measure, or you'd have a way to choose for yourself.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:57 AM on April 11, 2014 [41 favorites]


Help an old-timer here: Isn't the point of capitalism profit?

Facebook has users who specifically ask to be advertised to and they are denying those users the advertisements they want. So facebook's users who engage with advertisers are eventually just going to be people who don't know how poorly it works.
posted by srboisvert at 5:01 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, okay, Eat24, I hope that was a cool letter with lots of salient points and when you make a version that isn't written like a third-grade-reading-level Buzzfeed article interrupted by pointless animated GIFs every paragraph maybe I'll consider you actually wrote something intelligent and I won't give up after the first page-down scroll.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:01 AM on April 11, 2014 [30 favorites]


I’ve recently found FB not showing me some posts from friends who I interact with and who interact with me (thus, you’d think the algorithm would consider these friends higher priority). I don’t have hundreds of people on my friends list, either.

The current solution if you really want to see all activity from someone is to add them to the “Close Friends” list.
posted by D.C. at 5:03 AM on April 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


> Facebook is making hard choices about spam. They've chosen to limit posts from businesses that are getting ignored in favor of delivering them only to engaged users

That's not how I understand it, though. They're not throttling the rate at which accounts can post, and they're not limiting the breadth with which posts can be broadcast. They're limiting reception, and the limit seems to be purely arbitrarily blocking mumble-percent of available traffic, rather than intelligently filtering based on available factors, in the way that email spam filtering is done.

Any spammer can pay to elude that random-number filter, while your Aunt Mary probably won't.
posted by ardgedee at 5:04 AM on April 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


At this point, I would pay money to see less of a friend's FB posts about how he hates everything and everyone, how all music sucks, his neighbors suck, his writing career is stalling but it's everyone else's fault but his, and the occasional weird offensive meme he feels is also worth posting.

(Yes, yes, I know about unfriending/blocking/etc. But I've known him since I was a kid so I am trying to be less negative about his negativity.)
posted by Kitteh at 5:06 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


In other words, the advertisers aren't being punished for spamming, they're only seeing a rates increase. The users are collateral damage and Facebook seems to be proactive only in preventing users from being able to work around obstacles.
posted by ardgedee at 5:06 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Help an old-timer here: Isn't the point of capitalism profit?

Absolutely. How much does Facebook pay you to provide them with content? I guess what I'm saying is if you've got an all-volunteer army, one that you don't compensate, then maybe limiting thier access to your services unless they pay you is kinda stupid.
posted by valkane at 5:07 AM on April 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Ardegee - I disagree. I think these changes were made for the benefit of the user. Unlike Google+, which asked users to sort their friends into buckets in order to determine their feeds, Facebook is trying to do the lifting for their users. People's friend lists are simply too large to manually manage.

I'm not too sympathetic for brands looking for free impressions from Facebook. Showing content only to engaged users makes sense. Otherwise, your news feed would be lit up like Times Square, without Facebook even getting a cut.
posted by Vhanudux at 5:15 AM on April 11, 2014


What are the decent alternatives nowdays?

I use e-mail. I find that with e-mail, my messages to friends reach those folks without any problem whatsoever. I can even include links and photos. And yeah, I'm pretty lazy, so a lot of the time I just text that stuff.

For my social media needs, I use Metafilter. It seems to work pretty good. And what I like about it is it filters out a lot of the nonsensical bullshit. Even my own nonsensical bullshit.

For news and stuff, I have three go-tos: Google News, Popurls and Wikipedia.
posted by valkane at 5:20 AM on April 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


t this point, I would pay money to see less of a friend's FB posts about how he hates everything and everyone.... Yes, yes, I know about unfriending/blocking/etc.

Do you know about "unfollowing"? Unfollowing someone means you won't get their posts in your news feed but will still have them on your friends list, and they won't know you've done it. To unfollow your friend, just click on the caret mark in the top right corner of one of your friend's posts and select the "unfollow so and so" option.
posted by orange swan at 5:21 AM on April 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Nothing is free.
posted by tommasz at 5:28 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


I do know about the unfollow option and it's pretty much gotten to that point.

/end of derail
posted by Kitteh at 5:40 AM on April 11, 2014


Facebook is going a different route than Twitter

Yeah, Twitter is totally fucking useless to me. I don't understand the mentality. If you follow more than, say, fifty different feeds—which is easy with friends, family, and a few news sources—then the scroll is too fast. Are these people refreshing their Twitter homepage every ten minutes throughout the day? That's crazy. I want a social-media tool, not something that requires an addiction to use properly.

I think Facebook is awesome. It does a great job of managing what comes through my feed. I wish I still had those sliders: remember, how you could choose to see more photos from Bob, fewer wall posts from Sally, etc, without actually unfollowing anybody? But with that said, Facebook works impeccably for keeping up with my family and friends. I've filtered out the power users who post four times daily, and for me that's a small fraction of my social circle, so it doesn't debilitate. If your family and friends behave differently, I could definitely see Facebook being more/less useful to you.

For my social media needs, I use Metafilter.

Maybe we're using the term "social media" differently. MetaFilter is one very narrow type, I think. It's fun for what it is...but the people on Facebook, those are my actual friends. I want to keep up with their lives. Facebook collates that. Sure, I could keep up with everybody via constant emails, texts, phone calls, etc, but that wouldn't actually happen. It's too much effort. Facebook hits the efficiency sweet spot.
posted by cribcage at 5:41 AM on April 11, 2014 [6 favorites]




I use e-mail. I find that with e-mail, my messages to friends reach those folks without any problem whatsoever.

The problem I always had with email was how hard it was to stop replying back-and-forth. It made it very clear when you had run out of things to say.
posted by smackfu at 5:44 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you follow more than, say, fifty different feeds—which is easy with friends, family, and a few news sources—then the scroll is too fast. Are these people refreshing their Twitter homepage every ten minutes throughout the day? That's crazy. I want a social-media tool, not something that requires an addiction to use properly.

Using Twitter properly means not feeling like you need to see every single thing that comes across your feed.

Maybe we're using the term "social media" differently. MetaFilter is one very narrow type, I think. It's fun for what it is...but the people on Facebook, those are my actual friends.

If that's the case, your use of Facebook is already very different from the prevailing norm. My sense is that most people have tons of random acquaintances, or even people they've encountered only once, in their FB "friends" list.
posted by escabeche at 5:52 AM on April 11, 2014


So aggravating. I used to check my feed four or five times a day. Now I check once or twice, there's hardly anything on it because facebook filters tons of it out and constantly resets it to "top posts" even when you tell it "most recent." I spend way less time there than I used to, and consequently see far fewer of facebook's ads. I also no longer use it to keep up with local businesses or organizations because FACEBOOK MAKES SURE I DON'T SEE POSTS FROM THEM. My friends are posting less, and less-interesting stuff, because nobody engages with them, because half their friends don't see it. More and more of my friends are using it as a photo-sharing site and just e-mail you a link to the album they want you to see.

For the last three days it has been eagerly showing me, at the top of my feed, a discussion two married people I know are having about whether to ship boxes by UPS or FedEx. Great job there, facebook.

I originally got on facebook because all my friends were using it to organize social events, but now they've all migrated back to e-mail. Since New Years' I've taken several multi-day breaks from it, and not missed it. I'm sure their metrics must be telling them they're doing SOMETHING right, but all I can see in my social group is declining number of visits, declining time spent on the site per visit, and declining engagement with the content on the site.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:55 AM on April 11, 2014 [40 favorites]


I keep hoping that everyone will go through enough rounds of the "this proprietary service was great until its owners started monetizing it, now we all have to migrate to a new proprietary service" game that we'll all collectively realize that depending on proprietary services is a sucker's game.

What was so wrong with usenet and email and IRC and self-hosted blogs in the first place, anyway?
posted by ook at 5:57 AM on April 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


well okay there was a lot wrong with usenet, but you know what I mean
posted by ook at 5:58 AM on April 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


I ran some ads on Facebook, got a couple hundred likes, it felt good, until I looked at who these people were. I thought I must have messed up my campaign. Now maybe I can blame the Facebook environment itself for my messed up campaign. Anyway, I basically paid to have likes, so my page wouldn't look pathetically unliked, and robo likes are still likes, so what the hey.

So I now only pay Google Adwords and Yelp. Have we exposed Yelp yet? Yelp's a more potent blackmailing platform because of the threat of harsh negative reviews. The customers we get from Yelp aren't good though, too many high-maintenance complainers, not surprisingly.
posted by koebelin at 5:59 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


But re the actual subject of this post -- yeah, I have a book coming out, and I set up an author page, and started posting events and stuff, and only then did I realize that none of the people liked the page were actually seeing any of the announcements.
posted by escabeche at 6:01 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


What was so wrong with usenet and email and IRC and self-hosted blogs in the first place, anyway?

Nobody was making any money except for the morlocks that kept the plumbing running.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:04 AM on April 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


What was so wrong with usenet and email and IRC and self-hosted blogs in the first place, anyway?

Facebook's format is actually useful for what it is. I don't have many local friends anymore but plenty of distant friends (as opposed to online "friends"), many of whom know each other. This is more of a community feel, except it's several communities in one convenient-ish place. Individual blogs can be great, and FB is no substitute for them -- but often it's one person talking at everyone else, with a few comments.

That said, Facebook has been continuously revising the "convient-ish" part downward.

As a user I want to see all my friends' posts, and all the posts from pages I've liked. (In chronological order, without my preferences being randomly flipped every few days.) If I don't want to read them, I can scroll past them myself or use some kind of filtering mechanism. But FB doesn't even give that option; it pretends to know what's best for me and it's wrong about it.
posted by Foosnark at 6:06 AM on April 11, 2014 [27 favorites]


What are the decent alternatives nowdays?

Depends on how you use Facebook, I guess. If you use it to keep in touch with lots of people who live far away or with lots of old classmates in whose lives you have only a vague interest, then there really isn't an alternative, AFAIK. I only ever used Facebook as a kind of local events calendar and back channel with friends I see IRL anyway and I've eventually decided the benefits don't outweigh the hassles. Most of the news I can get elsewhere and the people I see anyway, so aside from the latest hot gossip and an occasional event, I don't feel like I'm missing too much. Of course, everyone's mileage will vary here.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:07 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


As a casual user of Facebook, who uses it less to make posts and more to keep tabs on specific friends and family members, almost all of whom live far away, I find it more and more frustrating. I just want to check in, do a quick sweep of my newsfeed and get out. They make it so hard with wanting to push 'top stories', whatever that means, and shoving out some friends' updates altogether. Usually the people who post less are the people I actually want to hear from more, because I can do without drooling baby post #1348 from friend A and heavily-artifacted cheeseball inspirational jpg #456 from one aunt B. It's like having to awkwardly tear through a few layers of packaging to get at the morning paper every day. And of course it doesn't help that it's constantly, seemingly arbitrarily, changing.

I feel let down by the internet in that Facebook hasn't been replaced, or at least some good niche options haven't cropped up by now. I almost feel beholden to it, if I want to keep up with some people, and that makes me resent it all the more. It's stupid, but it feels dated and broke down already.

And yes, I think it's best to look at Twitter like a stream you occasionally drink from. You shouldn't get frustrated because you can't drink all the water rushing past. Follow people who excel at pithiness.

ALSO, I wish restaurants would stop using Facebook as their main websites. It doesn't work remotely well for that purpose. Just suck it up and pay for a real site, guys. As if most regular restaurant websites weren't shitty and useless enough already.
posted by picea at 6:09 AM on April 11, 2014 [38 favorites]


To unfollow your friend, just click on the caret mark in the top right corner of one of your friend's posts and select the "unfollow so and so" option.

Once upon a time not that long ago, facebook let you choose what kinds of updates you saw from a given friend - there were radio button where you could select e.g. Life Events or Likes A Page and stuff like that, and it was incredibly useful (to me) because I want to see when a friend announces she's gotten a new cat but I could care less about her Candy Crush score.

But they took that away, and now it's basically all-or-nothing, except you don't even get to choose whose "all."
posted by rtha at 6:14 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]



The current solution if you really want to see all activity from someone or pages you have liked is to add them to the “Close Friends” ANY list and then Never Use News Feed only view that list.
posted by tilde at 6:15 AM on April 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


When I got sick of Facebook and its stupid algorithm I just added everyone (literally every friend) to the acquaintances list. Now they only show up if there's a major life event. The rest of the newsfeed is made up of posts from pages I like. I find it to be a ton less annoying, and I don't run the risk of offending aunt Betsy by disappearing completely.
posted by surlyben at 6:16 AM on April 11, 2014


I could care less about her Candy Crush score

1. Click the Candy Crush link.
2. Click BLOCK to block the game.
3. Never see anyone's Candy Crush information again (and Candy Crush doesn't see you, allegedly).
4. Rinse and repeat every time Facebook suggests a game to you.
posted by tilde at 6:17 AM on April 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


I wish restaurants would stop using Facebook as their main websites

Amen to that. I think they think it's cool.
posted by Segundus at 6:21 AM on April 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


No, I know about how to do that. I just miss being able to set, for each individual, what kinds of things I would see from them. Used to be able to say "life events and photos" and that's what I'd see.
posted by rtha at 6:21 AM on April 11, 2014


Handy link for navigating Facebook chronologically:

https://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr
posted by Omon Ra at 6:24 AM on April 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


third-grade-reading-level Buzzfeed article interrupted by pointless animated GIFs every paragraph

To be fair, it is Eat 24. Have you seen their TV ads? This reads like Dostoevsky by comparison.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:31 AM on April 11, 2014


ALSO, I wish restaurants would stop using Facebook as their main websites. It doesn't work remotely well for that purpose. Just suck it up and pay for a real site, guys. As if most regular restaurant websites weren't shitty and useless enough already.

^THIS^

I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to look for info about a restaurant, only to be directed to a FB link. I am not willing to log into FB to see your FB page, restaurant. Surely you guys know someone that is willing to do a bog standard WP page for you. If having a basic web page is too much for you to manage, you have already failed at social media.
posted by Kitteh at 6:34 AM on April 11, 2014 [14 favorites]


they'd give users the option to choose to see all the posts from a particular person, business or organization if they wish. They don't offer that option,

Actually, they do. Once you Like a business, hover over "Liked" and choose "get notifications" to see everything that business posts. However, the problem is that most normal people assume this is the default. If I didn't want to see a business' posts, I wouldn't have clicked Like, would I?
posted by dobbs at 6:35 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if Facebook charged every business a measly $5 a month to ensure all of their followers saw all of their posts, I bet many would sign up for it. However, charging me $ to show my posts to people who haven't liked my business can be pretty useless. I own a record store in Toronto. I don't ship items to Bangladesh, the USA, or, well, anywhere. Showing my posts to people who can't walk into my store is pointless and I'm not gonna pay someone to do it. How is that any different from sending mail to a spam list?
posted by dobbs at 6:37 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is the same for people in bands and art openings. I have tried repeatedly to explain to friends in those mediums that if you're touting about a show or an opening, don't send it to everyone. Because often, people move away or don't live in your area and when you keep sending me invites to your stuff and I live in another country, then it definitely starts to feel like spam.
posted by Kitteh at 6:39 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


The "Top Posts" problem is not a problem if you use a browser plug-in like Social Fixer. I always see "Most Recent" and it never changes.
posted by litlnemo at 6:40 AM on April 11, 2014


The web really did need a lowest common denominator entry point/gateway drug where the choice of user actions was standardized and somewhat simple. Unfortunately, that point seems to be Facebook, with the promise of seeing pictures of family and friends. Or with the promise of delivering your audience to you.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:40 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


ALSO, I wish restaurants would stop using Facebook as their main websites. It doesn't work remotely well for that purpose. Just suck it up and pay for a real site, guys. As if most regular restaurant websites weren't shitty and useless enough already.

^THIS^


Doing all of your advertising and interaction and suchlike via Facebook is the exact same fucking thing as having done all of that stuff on MySpace or Friendster. After Facebook is a shell of itself, being bought and sold by Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher for $3M and a role in their next movie, the Web will still be a thing.
posted by Etrigan at 6:42 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


So... some people who are trying to promote their web site and smartphone app are complaining that Facebook isn't making it easy enough for them to leverage their Facebook presence in service of these goals for free? Am I getting that right?
posted by slkinsey at 6:46 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Once you Like a business, hover over "Liked" and choose "get notifications" to see everything that business posts.

Perfect. I just set that for a dozen or so pages that I actually want to know what the businesses are up to. Maybe Facebook has been hiding updates so I don't drown in a torrent of news, but I think I'll be ok.

Now maybe I can finally find out when some bands are in town before they play a show.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:48 AM on April 11, 2014


"To be honest, lots of our friends warned us about you (not to name names but to definitely name names: Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal)."

I think I've spotted the problem here. They think companies, random strangers who clicked a "like" button, customers, and those real-life persons you like to hang out with all fall into the "my friends" category. That's fucking stupid.
posted by effbot at 6:48 AM on April 11, 2014


There's been a lot of debate about this, but I think that Facebook is doing a good job. Just because I liked Brand X 5 years ago when I was setting up my account it doesn't mean that I want to see everything that Brand X posts.

On the other hand often when I log into Facebook I'll see a story like a friend getting engaged that had been posted 15 hours before, which is how it should be - it's important to me.

In other news, ad rates at Facebook are going up, because more brands are having to pay to get our attention now.

(With Twitter you need to use lists, and you won't miss the important stuff)
posted by DanCall at 6:57 AM on April 11, 2014


Coning soon : Facebook Superfriends
posted by fullerine at 6:59 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I use Facebook pretty regularly. As a runner, it's a great way to keep up with my friends and talk about running/races without the trolls on the running message boards getting involved.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:59 AM on April 11, 2014


Should have bought a Facebook gold account!
posted by oceanjesse at 7:01 AM on April 11, 2014


On a broader level, this could indicate that a bubble burst is nearby for the social media. When I was small, I did not understand that if something felt off, it probably was off.

Recently, I've had very weird feelings about google search (it was dumbed down a lot a couple of years back) and facebook was useful for me back in 2008 when I met a couple of people from Iran and went there as a direct result. Twitter - I have no idea why this is useful, and generally it feels as if the Internet provides really little useful information. If you need to know something really valuable, you either have to look it up in books, acquire the experience yourself or get lucky and find someone who knows.

In brief, I think a bust is near - giants will collapse and be replaced by something else. I'd like to know what that will be.
posted by Laotic at 7:02 AM on April 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


I run a public library-sponsored book club that meets at a local bar, and we advertise and communicate with our members primarily on Facebook. There are over 100 people who've liked us, because they've come to meetings at one point or another. Now when I post about new meetings, I'm notified that only 5 or 10 of those members will have seen the post, and do I want to spend $$ to promote it? Attendance is dropping, and I'm on the verge of moving us over to GoodReads (which I despise), and losing most of those followers, just so I can be sure people know what book we're reading next month. Jesus fucking Christ, this is insufferable.
posted by libraritarian at 7:05 AM on April 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's fascinating how people use Facebook very differently.

My girlfriend basically uses Facebook like I use Metafilter and RSS feeds and Twitter. She follows accounts that post interesting articles, like NPR or the local political reporter, and she follows people that post interesting articles, like our vegan friend and our local state rep. I'd say practically all of her news and web discovery is via Facebook.
posted by smackfu at 7:09 AM on April 11, 2014


facebook is evil and i will dance on its grave, which i know is coming when i look at its p/e ratio and consider how many more planets with intelligent life will have to be discovered in order to validate the growth assumptions in the ratio.

i grew up when reticence was still considered a positive attribute. you don't put your business on the street. people who went against this tide were considered show-offs, before we learned "attention whore" and then "narcissist". remember john poindexter's "total information awareness"? this is the same thing, nominally emerging in the private sector.

that's not what i logged on to ask you. i have a fb account i've never looked at or uploaded one bit of data, but it's connected to my email, and i get emails from fb asking me to friend specific people, many of whom are total strangers, but...

one of them, who's appeared about ten times in these emails, is someone who i have no irl connection with whatsoever, but who is also a prominent mefite, a name all regular users here would recognize. i contacted this person and it soon became clear that there would be no help resolving the mystery from this quarter. i do not suspect this person of instigating this phenomenon, but i do wonder about their colleagues, and...

i suspect that metafilter is not as opaque to facebook's scrapers as is commonly believed. for additional wtf, in the last five or so relevant emails, umlauts have appeared over a letter in the first and last name of the prominent mefite. my question is, HAS ANYTHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED TO ANY OF YOU?
posted by bruce at 7:10 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Facebook felt too much like work. I don't miss it.
posted by davebush at 7:14 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


What was so wrong with usenet and email and IRC and self-hosted blogs in the first place, anyway?

There was no one to complain to about getting stuff censored unless it was CP or copyright violation.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:15 AM on April 11, 2014


one of them, who's appeared about ten times in these emails, is someone who i have no irl connection with whatsoever, but who is also a prominent mefite, a name all regular users here would recognize. i contacted this person and it soon became clear that there would be no help resolving the mystery from this quarter. i do not suspect this person of instigating this phenomenon, but i do wonder about their colleagues, and...

i suspect that metafilter is not as opaque to facebook's scrapers as is commonly believed. for additional wtf, in the last five or so relevant emails, umlauts have appeared over a letter in the first and last name of the prominent mefite. my question is, HAS ANYTHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED TO ANY OF YOU?


unsure if serious or joking
posted by leotrotsky at 7:17 AM on April 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


There are over 100 people who've liked us, because they've come to meetings at one point or another. Now when I post about new meetings, I'm notified that only 5 or 10 of those members will have seen the post,

I wouldn't post about new meetings, I'd create an event and invite them all to it. I get push notifications about events for groups that I'm interested, but not about posts for many of those same groups.
posted by Jahaza at 7:20 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Once you Like a business, hover over "Liked" and choose "get notifications" to see everything that business posts. However, the problem is that most normal people assume this is the default.
posted by dobbs at 8:35 AM on April 11


The other, arguably bigger problem is that even people who choose to get notifications don't see what that business posts.

I have a small press with a Facebook page. I have had something like 50 people tell me they've chosen "get notifications" specifically (after I posted on my own personal FB about how to do this), and still only 5 to 10 people see my updates. Probably some people did it wrong or simply lied to me, but I doubt 80-90% of them did.

Facebook simply wants me to pay to post anything. Which, you know, fair enough, FB is a business and so is my small press, so why should I expect to reach my audience for free? Except that FB lets everybody believe that they work differently from how they actually work. I'd be fine with a pay-a-monthly-fee model (actually I'd be delighted to give them $5-10/month to be able to make a post every day that people who have liked my page would see), and I'd also be fine with a pay-to-post model (if I could afford it which I probably couldn't, but mine is a miniscule business and I don't expect FB's model to accommodate me). What irritates me isn't that FB expects me to pay them, it's that they make everybody believe they don't expect payment (except for ads). It's the total lack of transparency that's annoying.
posted by joannemerriam at 7:22 AM on April 11, 2014 [8 favorites]


Making sure I understand:

-They don't show you all of the posts you want to see from your close friends. Unless, you know... you use the "close friends" option, then you never miss any.
-Because of their attempts to funnel and monetize the onslaught of posts, they are no longer reliable as a marketing tool for celebs and companies who want to reach everyone who ever "liked" their page with 100% penetration unless they, you know... pay like it's a marketing tool.
-They're wreaking havoc on our privacy. Unless, you know... you change your settings and use a modicum of common sense when posting.
-Facebook is selling us all out, trying to make money. Not sure why they couldn't just deliver cat pics, memes, and baby photos indefinitely using only VC money.
-If they keep this up, we're all moving to Twitter, which has lesser privacy settings, a larger onslaught of content that can also cause us to miss things, and an even unclearer financial future, though I'm def sure they can keep this up without ever monetizing in some annoying way.

Is that about right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:25 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Recently, I've had very weird feelings about google search

This. Google Panda really like worthless awful horrible links to fucking FixYa.com for some reason.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:26 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


As if most regular restaurant websites weren't shitty and useless enough already.

I disagree: I think a page that devotes three-quarters of my screen to showing me a high-res photo of what a chicken fajita looks like but conceals the address and hours four clicks deep helps me make informed dining choices far easier.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:31 AM on April 11, 2014 [17 favorites]


libraritarian: “I run a public library-sponsored book club […] Attendance is dropping…”
I think one thing that Facebook does itself no favors with is the distinction between pages, groups, and causes. They also do a terrible job at helping people, especially clubs and other non-profit groups set up the right kinds of pages or groups to meet their needs.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:35 AM on April 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


a YouTube video of a deer running in slow motion

btw, for the lazy, here's the actual video, complete with people chatting in the comments. "This place went to shit after the onion did that story on it."
posted by effbot at 7:53 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think one thing that Facebook does itself no favors with is the distinction between pages, groups, and causes. They also do a terrible job at helping people, especially clubs and other non-profit groups set up the right kinds of pages or groups to meet their needs.

Also... there's a big promise to Social Media, but it turns out it's not really all that much easier. It's still a lot of work to maintain a substantial and engaged presence for a large group/activity, whether its done by Facebook or an e-mail list or a web site.
posted by Jahaza at 7:59 AM on April 11, 2014


(That is the "Social Media Industrial Complex" and its boosters make big promises, not that it is neccesarily promising objectively.)
posted by Jahaza at 7:59 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is that about right?

Nope! But that's cool.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 8:05 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


As someone who plays Candy Crush and occasionally uses Facebook, Candy Crush feels much less like a waste of time than posting and reading things on Facebook.

I'm not going to post stuff about my kids on FB due to privacy concerns.
I'm not going to post substantial things about the world there because it leads to comment fights with idiots and the removal of "friends".
I don't really care that much about what sort of workaday things people are doing, even when they are friends that moved away.
It sucks that I can't just email people any more because they only look at FB.
I try to read my feed every week or two and everything's totally different every time.
The privacy settings keep changing.
I can't post a recurring event for my weekly Scrabble club; I have to do it every week. So emailing a list of people saying "who's coming" is easier.
It keeps "suggesting" all these posts, games, etc. and trying to keep pulling the levers to make that stop is exhausting.

If I could pay like $39 a year for an ad-free private service to keep up with my *actual* friends, and it added useful features beyond phone calls or emails, I'd sign up in a heartbeat. Facebook blows.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:12 AM on April 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


If I could pay like $39 a year for an ad-free private service to keep up with my *actual* friends, and it added useful features beyond phone calls or emails, I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

I set up a forum site with invite-only membership in oh.... 2002? There are about 30 of us in all and about a dozen regulars. It costs like a hundred bucks a year, total (for all of us). It's not hard to do.

It's forum software, but mostly all we use it for is randomly titled threads that turn over every few days and house our bullshitting.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:18 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


This The Facebook, it f#%*tates?

Nothing is free.

Except the sun and the rain and the thoughts of the same. And hope, joy and sweet dreams.
Other than that, $20 same as in town.
posted by petebest at 8:20 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


The issue here a bit overblown. Facebook is making hard choices about spam.

That's kind of an absurd formulation since the folks who "like" a business are asking to be alerted to announcements from that business. Facebook is simply blackmailing folks it encouraged to spend time and money making Facebook profitable, because it now has the power to do so.

Seriously. The idea that this is Facebook Getting Serious About Spam is laughable.
posted by mediareport at 8:31 AM on April 11, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's fascinating how people use Facebook very differently.
Yeah, the questions that always come up (like in this thread) such as "What was wrong with email and Usenet" always take me aback, and make me realize that some people must use Facebook (and/or email and usenet) very differently than I do.

I use Facebook to get and give surface-level updates about my friends, and people from my past whom I remember fondly. I enjoy seeing Friend-From-Seventh-Grade posting occasional minor details about their life, or things they're excited about, or photos, or (as long as they're not frequent, over the top, or Tea Party-ish) the occasional little grumpy complaint. I enjoy posting such things myself for Friend-From-Seventh-Grade to see, too.

But email? Really? If Friend-From-Seventh-Grade put me on an email distribution list with hundreds of people on it, and every few days sent me some trivial little thing, my reaction would be "WTF?".

And Usenet? I don't remember any Usenet groups that consisted of my friends and people from my past whom I remember fondly. I don't remember any Usenet groups that were anything remotely like that.
posted by Flunkie at 8:32 AM on April 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


Yes, the article is a little silly, but it contains a link to this video about what FB is actually doing, which is flat out astonishing. I don't use FB much, so I wasn't aware of this shift, but if this is accurate it's not in any way just a good-faith effort to eliminate spam.
posted by The Bellman at 8:34 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Fwiw, The Bellman, that's the 2nd link in the post.
posted by mediareport at 8:41 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just because I liked Brand X 5 years ago when I was setting up my account it doesn't mean that I want to see everything that Brand X posts.

About once every six months to a year, I look through my likes and delete the ones I don't want to get notifications for any more for exactly this reason.
posted by immlass at 9:05 AM on April 11, 2014


In addition to local businesses, bands, not-for-profit organizations, community groups, and so on, there are a lot of small publications and websites reaching niche audiences that have used Facebook to extend their reach on the web. Because the page owners really can't afford to pay to promote every post, and creating an event would be an awkward way to disseminate new information, those publications and sites are kind of screwed now.

For me, the frustrating thing is that the current policy essentially breaks the common, long-established understanding underlying email, RSS and other parts of the net - namely, that if I sign up for your updates, it's because I want and expect to get that information. But liking a Facebook page now is essentially meaningless, because there's no telling if I'll actually get the info I want, or not.

Seems like this could backfire on them if enough potential advertisers are slow to pay up.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:10 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


folks who "like" a business are asking to be alerted to announcements from that business

Don't you think they would have called the button "subscribe" or "follow" or "show me every single thing the interns manning this company's social media (applause) channels come up with" if that was actually the case? Facebook has a lot of UX designers & researchers, and I suspect some of them might have looked into this at this point...
posted by effbot at 9:21 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


And Usenet? I don't remember any Usenet groups that consisted of my friends and people from my past whom I remember fondly. I don't remember any Usenet groups that were anything remotely like that.

That's not the equivalency I had in mind... Usenet would correspond more to Facebook groups or to, well, MeFi; places where you talk to strangers with shared interests. Friends-and-family was more private listservs or blogs or direct email. IRC was twitteresque. Etcetera.

I'm not saying these are exact comparisons, just that these modern services are functionally speaking not so terribly different from the open federated services we used to have, just with better UI and a total loss of control for users when a given service decides they're ubiquitous enough that it's safe to start tightening the screws.
posted by ook at 9:26 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Summary of the Eat24 post: "Facebook no longer shows our ads unless we pay them. Wah! BTW we're sophomorically funny here's a GIF of a fat woman complaining along with a fat joke for the caption".

I've got all sorts of hate for Facebook too and look forward to the day we look back on their walled garden with the same confusion we look at AOL or Compuserve. But this specific problem, choosing what to show users on their Facebook page, is hard. There's too many things to show for a person's attention so they're trying to prioritize. In the meantime, we've had 3+ years of businesses like Eat24 demanding we "Like them on Facebook" so much that the fact a user pressed the "like" button once doesn't mean they want to see every fucking ad from Eat24 for the rest of time.

There's still problems with showing grandma the baby photos and filtering out your crazy great uncle's Tea Party rants. Those are hard problems. Demoting ad traffic like Eat24 is an easy first step.
posted by Nelson at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I closed my FB account when they offered to let me "promote" the personal post in which I announced to my friends the death of my father.
posted by twsf at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2014 [34 favorites]


twsf that is kind of like how I dumped an aquaintance into my gmail spam folder when he sent me an e-mail announcing the death of a friend of mine formatted in comic sans. Technology is great at innovating ways to dehumanize ourselves.
posted by bukvich at 9:31 AM on April 11, 2014


Hey Eat24 (and others), You Do Not Have A Facebook Page (self-link) and never did. This is like me publicly breaking up with the cute girl who serves me coffee down at the shop because she won't go out with me even though she makes the coffee I like.

Eat24 has simply misunderstood the relationship.
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:32 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, effbot, you are suggesting that Facebook has research showing that people "liking" a page do not expect to get updates from that page? I'd be interested to see that, because it seems counter-intuitive.

Nelson, I think a big problem here is that Facebook's mechanisms that let users filter content from pages they've liked don't seem to work very well, or at all.

I may not want to get every update from Eat24, but if I would like to see all the updates from, say, my softball league, the public library, and the corner bar near work that has great fried chicken but only at irregular intervals, there seems to be no reliable way for me as a user to "opt-in" for those pages.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:36 AM on April 11, 2014


(With Twitter you need to use lists, and you won't miss the important stuff)

Yes! Lists! I love my Twitter lists! And it doesn't seem like a lot of people know about them, and that maybe even Twitter is sort of over promoting them. I would be very, very sad if they ever discontinued the Lists feature.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:36 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


If only there were some really simple way to syndicate getting updates from your favorite companies. Facebook fails by not being able to do that. In other news, my coffee maker toasts a lousy bagel.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:40 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I should dial back my snark some. Because I do realize there are small business owners and other people with FB pages which are frustrated.

But a lot of this really seems to spring from ideas about what FB is that don't really hold up. There is too much to see. They can't show people everything, not even just all of the stuff they like. I can understand being frustrated that you can't use FB the way you want to reach the people you want when they're right there and you are willing to pay. But it really feels like a lot of the frustration comes from people who really want FB to act like an RSS reader with their stuff on top because hey: people liked me. Or like an online equivalent of an email blast. But "liking" a page on FB isn't signing up. It's just letting a company get its toe into your feed. They may yet have more work to do to reach you. And if they want to hit specific people with very high penetration, it may not be the way for them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:48 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Facebook has a convenient way to archive all of the content you put there, all the comments and photos and such, and take it off site?
Just like Google did when I had to export everything from Reader, right?
Right?

Right?
posted by Theta States at 9:48 AM on April 11, 2014


AndrewStephens: “Hey Eat24 (and others), You Do Not Have A Facebook Page (self-link) and never did. This is like me publicly breaking up with the cute girl who serves me coffee down at the shop because she won't go out with me even though she makes the coffee I like. Eat24 has simply misunderstood the relationship.”

If Facebook is lying – and Facebook is clearly lying in this situation – then it isn't anyone else's fault for having the poor dumb faith in other humans required to believe them.
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: "If only there were some really simple way to syndicate getting updates from your favorite companies. Facebook fails by not being able to do that. In other news, my coffee maker toasts a lousy bagel."

This analogy only works if your coffee maker used to toast bagels really well but Cuisinart took away that function because they want Sara Lee to pay more.
posted by Big_B at 9:53 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]




I ran a social media marketing company for years and the situation is getting ever more frustrating for people like me who built companies' fan bases not through buying followers, but through the often labor-intensive and risky version of cultivating a brand's reputation and fan base and luring them to the FB page with custom content they want to see. Facebook used to be a place where a smaller, less-capitalized company could do good work, build a grassroots fanbase, and reach that fanbase for free. Now it's all about who's buying the most likes and who has the biggest amplification budget, which isn't necessarily surprising but is a disappointment for people who came to social media as an alternative to big advertising.

Yes, brand Facebook pages are aimed at growing revenues, but most of the companies I worked with were staffed by real people who had real goals like changing the way people eat food or serving a community of people who are usually ignored in the marketplace. Many of them used Facebook as a place where they directly communicate with consumers about their requests, product issues, and other customer service issues while devoting the budget they could have spent on pricey follower acquisition and amplification plans to tweaking their products in response to that feedback. It's frustrating that they now have to fork over cold hard cash to keep the relationships they themselves built, or that someone like me, who fought hard for every follower to her Facebook page for a book she published, now has seen that "asset" that was so valuable to my publishers when they were buying my first book become something that's essentially worthless.

Also, I think that "like" has started to mean different things for different people. Sometimes I like a page to help out a friend or because I really want to hear from a brand during a seasonal promotion thing or on a certain topic. I then promptly forget I liked it in the first place and hit "I don't want to see this" or "unfollow" when I hear from them again.
posted by mynameisluka at 10:00 AM on April 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


That made me lol, Big_B. :)

I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of trying to find a perfect analogy. So I'll just say it plain: it's a shame likes cannot serve to feed you preferred content the same way that signing up for an RSS feed does, but Facebook isn't RSS. Once upon a time, it could serve that way... kinda, if you squinted. But the scale of both FB itself and of people's long lists of likes has killed that forever. It can't work that way effectively, and there'd be little way for FB to make enough to survive on even if it did.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:01 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Facebook's mechanisms that let users filter content from pages they've liked don't seem to work very well

Yeah, I agree, but Facebook isn't trying to provide users manual filtering tools. They're trying to present some amusing stuff to you on the front page in an automated way. If you want to see what the softball league is doing or every single one of Uncle Ron's rants about Obamacare, you have to click through to their page.

I prefer a completionist view; I'm the kind of nerd with 300 RSS feeds in a reader that I actually zero out every single day. I read every Tweet I get. But I appreciate that Facebook is trying to build a product for a different kind of user, a more casual and random sort of content discovery. I even sort of understand why they don't want an "all items" view; in Facebook's mind the front page is the product, they want to get that one thing right.

Now we can definitely argue that it doesn't do a good job promoting the best content. I agree entirely, in particular on my feed they seem to take a single engagement with someone (say, a comment on their photo) as far too strong a signal I want to see everything from them. Also they removed the old "don't show so much stuff from this user" manual option that I liked to use to explicitly signal them. But I recognize this content promotion problem as difficult, so I have some sympathy.

Mostly I just have loathing for companies like Eat24 whining that their ads aren't getting enough free placement. Literally every single article I've seen going into Facebook ranking in detail is some SEO scumbag trying to plant their advertising into people's eyeballs. The Slate article here is an exception, and I think the poster for it.
posted by Nelson at 10:04 AM on April 11, 2014


You're welcome! And I wasn't trying to play the Your Analogy Sucks game, it's just what I thought of right when I read your comment.
posted by Big_B at 10:07 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


My own FB experience has improved dramatically since I sort of leaned into the skid where likes/content are concerned. I was getting too much political crap and vague whining in my feed, so I went through and liked a shit ton of stuff: bands, movies, actors, directors, TV shows, companies that make cool stuff, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. It not only drowned out the icky stuff coming from relatives and loons in my FB circles, it effectively turned my FB feed into a constantly updating feed of random things I like and/or am in interested in. I can't (and don't) rely on it for a comprehensive picture of anything. But it's a top notch buffet of crap to waste time on, constantly refreshing. And with baby photos and memes. So it's not all bad. Not for me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:15 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Facebook isn't only used by "SEO scumbags" or "real people." That's a false dichotomy.

It's also used by independent creators to keep their readers updated on what they've written, drawn, photographed, etc. This category of user enriches the FB system with good content, but has no or very little budget to spend on advertising. When this specific class of user leaves the system, the amount of real content on FB goes down, ultimately leading to the "real people" getting bored and disengaging from FB as a platform.

Now that it's publicly owned, FB's primary goal is to increase value for stockholders. It's the same as with any public company. But this way of choking out content is a short-sighted approach to doing so and will accelerate the rate of people leaving FB for other platforms.

Tumblr started eating FB's lunch in the 13-24 demo about a year ago. Look for them to roll out advertising, promotion, etc. in a similar way if they continue to grow their userbase. Once you have everyone using your platform, you bait-and-switch to bring in the ad bucks, or you close citing unprofitability.
posted by rubadub at 10:15 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


The sooner independent creators stop putting their work in Facebook's walled garden, the better off everyone will be. So I'm all for FB accelerating the demise of their own product and leaving it just to the SEO scumbags and Uncle Ron.

I'm really sad about how RSS turned out. We had a fantastic content syndication and subscription platform over 10 years ago. RSS is fair, and decentralized, and efficient. And RSS was regularly used, it really worked. But only by a select nerd group and it failed to turn into a real consumer product. I still don't really understand why. But the Google Reader shutdown is clearly both a symbol of the failure of RSS as well as another nail in the coffin.
posted by Nelson at 10:20 AM on April 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


There was a time when Facebook allowed you to import RSS feeds, they turned up on your timeline as Notes. But Facebook doesn't really want people importing things and directing traffic to other sites, so that functionality was disabled years ago.
posted by AndrewStephens at 10:25 AM on April 11, 2014


Fwiw, The Bellman, that's the 2nd link in the post.

My bad, I don't know how I missed that!
posted by The Bellman at 10:47 AM on April 11, 2014


This is like me publicly breaking up with the cute girl who serves me coffee down at the shop because she won't go out with me even though she makes the coffee I like.

Except the cute girl who serves you coffee down at the shop has been saying over and over again that you should ask her out; it'll be really good for you.

Eat24 has simply misunderstood the relationship.

No, Eat24 trusted that the cute girl was telling the truth, instead of setting them up to laugh at them later.
posted by mediareport at 10:49 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


But Facebook doesn't really want people importing things and directing traffic to other sites, so that functionality was disabled years ago.

I use facebook on my phone and it is incredibly frustrating if I want to share something... in any manner that is NOT facebook.

Want to copy some text and put it on twitter? Can't on my phone.
Someone sends you an email. You try clicking it, and want to write them a message in gmail. Umm nope, can't click it, can't copy it, despite it being highlighted.
Want to link to an event? Share only brings up options for sharing on... facebook.
fuck facebook and their locked-down mobile interface.
posted by Theta States at 10:49 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the way they utterly break the basic precepts of text & html on the phone version is hideous. A walled garden is one thing, but when the barbed wire at the top of the fence in leaning in, I get peevish.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:57 AM on April 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


One of the ways the bike shop that sponsors my racing team has sidestepped the whole "promotion" scheme is to create a Closed Group for all of the team members - when you join the team you're added to the group by the group admin.

This works well and I get notifications for each and every thing they post.

I am a member of several private or closed groups on FB and think that for now it's one of the better solutions for sports teams, interest groups and small businesses (bands? art galleries?) to promote events and/or discussion among their followers. One of the greatest uses I get out of FB has been the migration of a subforum from roadbikereview onto a closed FB group - this was done because the corporate overlords at the media group running the (shitty, shitty vbulletin) forum site got greedy and allowed horrible, demeaning, tacky ads to overrun the site format. The closed group is MUCH more like the original look and feel of the original forum, complete with silly stories and serious musings, caturday posts and in-joke threads and so on.

Nothing's perfect, of course, certainly FB is not. I still have to periodically go through and systematically cull my "likes" and update my privacy settings and curate my friend list for various reasons to keep my feed relevant. I haven't noticed much decay in usefulness tho and I still find FB far more valuable a vector to, say, sell things like gently used laptops and late model high end racing bicycles among my friend network.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:11 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


The only reason I stick with Facebook is because it's where my friends and family are. I'd use Twitter more but I have about ten total IRL friends on Twitter who never post so it's mostly a read-only feed of famous writers and local politicians.
posted by octothorpe at 11:35 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eh, I think balkanization is probably going to be the natural outcome of all this. For me, LinkedIn is what FB was years ago: a public facing profile used to soak up contacts. As for FB, I deleted my profile about six ago, and started it again a couple years ago. This time, I'm much more careful who's on my friend list, so there's only 13 people total now, most of which I care about (not all though, it seems a harder process to unfriend people if you can count them on your fingers). And there are various footholds in Twitter, Instagram, my alma mater's social networking site, Meetup, Goodreads, and Google Plus. Still not sure if I should get into Tumblr.
posted by FJT at 1:10 PM on April 11, 2014


So... some people who are trying to promote their web site and smartphone app are complaining that Facebook isn't making it easy enough for them to leverage their Facebook presence in service of these goals for free? Am I getting that right?

yeah, if you ignore the user perspective. i subscribe to content because i want to see the content. i want to hear when things are happening at organizations i follow. i want to know about cool events when they are coming up. that was supposed to be part of the promise of facebook, to have one place to get those updates; and that was the functionality they provided at the outset. you used to be able to indicate specifically, for each page, that you wanted to see every post that comes across. when they started with the idea of promoting posts, that option stuck around for a while, but facebook took it away, probably because those pages starting telling people how to get all their content.

but i find that i keep missing hearing about great events or people coming through town until after they've happened and a friend has posted about it, and i go to the organization page and see weeks of content i didn't know existed. apparently i'm supposed to continuously stroke these pages, as if they are virtual pets, for facebook to understand i'm serious about them.

i'm most resentful about how it affects nonprofits i follow. if i make a donation to a group, i don't appreciate that they are being pressured to use part of that donation to pay a fee to use facebook to keep me informed.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 1:22 PM on April 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


Obviously some cynics here are just taking the ya poor dumb saps position, and there isn't a whole lot to say back to that. FB is free, after all, so it's not like we can protest effectively. We're the product.

Still, FB did work quite well in a certain way for a couple of years. I was/am part of a local "community page" that posts events and other stuff that isn't easily found in the local paper. The founder had a vision of becoming a real alternative news source, and I pooh-poohed that from the beginning, but it wasn't easy to deny that we were reaching hundreds and then thousands of local residents with high engagement, sometimes interesting or contentious discussion, and a sweet way to promote local businesses, as long as we didn't expect to actually get paid for it. It was a bit daft in terms of being an actual time-sink of a business model, but we used it to launch weekly coffee and more recently a monthly dinner.

But in the meantime, all those metrics these other sources have talked about have sunk like an old penny dropped in a well, and all we get is a dank echo. But we're not a business -- not a big international brand with a many-zeroes marketing budget, and not a local small business either trying to maximize the value of nothing. We're basically just a group of strangers coming together with a tool the internet placed out there enticingly, and a tool that has abruptly stopped working, not quite as effectively as if it were entirely shut down but the red flags are pretty much there.

The thing is, no, I don't like FB much and never did. I have MeFites and bloggers I'd like to follow and most of them are on Twitter -- but my college friends 90% aren't, my family 100% aren't, and my local friends and acquaintances -- in this small city not directly part of any other urban area -- definitely aren't. (Our newspaper and its writers bravely tweet frequently, but it's shouting into a vacuum.) So I'm back to square one as far as what else I might do to replace what FB did, and thus far the only answer is "keep using broken FB anyway". It's pretty discouraging.
posted by dhartung at 1:50 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think Facebook has built an unstable business model, because if ever a significant number of users do bail, Facebook's automatic response will be to try to squeeze more revenue from those who remain, since to do otherwise would cause revenues to dip, which would in turn cause the stock price to collapse, and most if not all Facebook decision makers have a lot of their personal wealth tied up in Facebook stock.

But squeezing remaining members harder will just continue the cycle, and they could be down the set of tubes before they know it.
posted by jamjam at 3:27 PM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I thought Livejournal was really the perfect medium for keeping up with friends and interesting-people-I-only-know-here, and I was sad when it seemed like everyone flocked over to FB. I thought at the time, that FB's interface was designed to be easy for people who don't usually use computers for anything, so everyone's grandma signed up and it became the only way for people to keep in touch. I have had several FB pages over the years, but it literally fills me with rage: that mode of communication is deeply unsatisfying to me, and while I do have a page at present, I don't use it at all, and my newborn business has a page which I'm considering deleting for reasons and continuing on twitter instead, which suits us better anyway.

I used to dream of starting a subscription service that was a sort of FB Lite, with the easy features and ability to share pictures and links, but it's like the internet is saturated with social media junk already.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 3:35 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there a Metafilter list on Twitter? I can't find a way to search for lists, but I'd subscribe to that for sure. I follow some mefites, but I know I'm missing lots of them.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:52 PM on April 11, 2014


The "get notifications" setting does not work as some of you think it does. If you say you want to get notifications from a page you have liked, it doesn't mean their posts will show up on your feed. It means you will get a notification that they made a post, in the same list where you get notifications that someone has liked or commented on something you posted. So don't set every page you like to "get notifications" or you will be sorry. Please don't ask me how I know. The only way I have found to get all the posts from businesses/performers/whatnot that I want to see is to put them on an interest list, but even then, I seem to miss posts.

And upthread, someone said that Facebook has to start thinning out what they send to people's feeds because there's just too much stuff to keep up with. Bullshit. I should get to decide how much stuff is too much. I am, after all, the person who has liked these things and befriended these people. If I'm getting too much stuff to look at, then it's on me to decide what can go, to find ways to filter it, or to just not feel compelled to read every single thing everybody posts. Facebook is not capable of determining how many posts I can read or want to read or whose posts I most want to see. I am. We used to have the ability to set things on our feed the way we wanted them, but now I barely see any posts from most of the pages I'd like to hear from, but you can bet that a new comment on a week old photo one of my friends posted will be right up at the top, as will some suggested page selling diet pills or religion, neither of which I'm interested in buying.
posted by Orb at 3:55 PM on April 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm with the RSS + Blogs + IRC folks. It's my favorite way of experiencing the social side of the Web. I have a Facebook profile because it's the one bit o' the WWW that the majority of my non-savvy friends and family have figured out how to use. Sort of. And while I used to be able to read that via RSS, that disappeared a long time ago. So I have a profile because I need to log in so that I can read stuff via their interface.

I still do the majority of my own content on my blog which then pushes to Facebook and Twitter (and Google+ if they'd ever deign to open their API for publishing). It's a happy medium I've struck with myself and the unwashed masses. I keep blogging and they get to see my content, abeit after Facebook's can't-read-proper-html API mangles the formatting.

That makes Facebook a read-only kind of experience. And the thing there is that they keep screwing with the way I like to read stuff. Before the last update they gave you the option to read chronologically (sort of) or by popularity. The latest iteration of the site took what semblance of chronologically was left away. So thanks for the URL above although I can guess that will be dropped shortly as well. But that's the root of the problem. They keep funnelling their users into an increasingly narrow way of interacting with their communities, for money.

As more businesses and people decide the value isn't there any longer and publicly jump ship I think things will get better. Either Facebook with let up on the throttling or, more likely, become the next MySpace. Perhaps now that more people have had a taste of what a vanity site can be, more of them would be motivated to use a blog platform provider or, heavens forfend, turn-key blog provided by a web host if Facebook disappeared. This would not cause me sadness.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:09 PM on April 11, 2014


DirtyOldTown: " They can't show people everything, not even just all of the stuff they like."

Sure they can and they could even have it both ways. Have two tabs/feeds/pages; one that shows you everything and one that shows what their algorithm thinks you can handle. And then give users filtering tools on the everything page. Users that are overwhelmed could use the algorithm page and people who want everything with optional user controlled filtering could use the everything page. Some users would even switch back and forth depending on circumstances. Of course then they couldn't sell placements as effectively.
posted by Mitheral at 8:08 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good lord, people really are bad at math, aren't they? After about 10 seconds of thinking, it should be obvious that there's no way everyone can see every post by every friend/company they follow. The average Facebook user has about 150 friends (teens average over 300) and that number will necessarily grow as time goes on. (it's somewhat rare to unfriend/unfollow someone) I'm not sure what the "average number of posts per day per user" would be, but if we assume "1 per day", that means that Aunt Bea's family photos are going to get lost in an ocean of food pics and quiz results from casual friends, and chances are you'll miss them anyway, even though they "reached" you.

So what does Facebook do? It figures out, based on your interaction, who you're most likely to want to see posts from, and presents them accordingly. So, if you and Aunt Bea are close (i.e. lots of interaction) you're more likely to see her posts, and less likely to see posts from someone you met at a party 4 years ago and haven't spoken to since.

And if you actually did miss Aunt Bea's photos, why not use the SUBSCRIBE button, and never miss anything from her? Or visit her wall occasionally? It's OK to go looking for something, instead of just sit there and read whatever the news feed is serving you.

I feel like I've had to explain this a whole bunch of times, but people still complain about it, as if there's any other reasonable way to make it work.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:45 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Have two tabs/feeds/pages; one that shows you everything

I wouldn't be surprised if they beta tested that feature, and within 10 minutes the test subjects were sounding like George C. Scott in Hardcore.

"Turn it off! TURN IT OFF!"
posted by ShutterBun at 9:49 AM on April 12, 2014


Which hey: Algorithm tab is right there. No need for a user to get strident.

I somehow manage to cope with hundreds of emails a day from the various list serves I'm on plus dozens of personal messages. My tumblr feed is at least a hundred images a day. I can't imagine I'm anywhere near being unique in managing those sorts of volume.

Heck the front page alone as of right now has 610 comments in threads posted in the last 24 hours and no users has melted down into a puddle of ectoplamic-unabletohandleit.

But facebook, historically anyways, implied they were giving you all that while now hiding the actual flow behind some ever shifting Kafkaesque filtering scheme. And if you buy into the "for your own good" motive for this it tips into pure evil because they then allow the people manning the fire hose to subvert that filtering with money. The least they could do is have a link to all the messages they nominally filtered for your own protection.
posted by Mitheral at 11:25 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hate to keep going back to RSS... But do the "of course Facebook can show you everything!" folks not remember what slaves many folks (myself included) ended up to their RSS feeds? RSS sent you everything from those feeds and unless you consciously chose to skip stuff by marking things you'd never seen as "read," those freaking updates would haunt you: (4)... (8)... (15)... (16)... (23)... (42)...

"Honey, we've got to go; the party's in 25 minutes."
"Can't get up. Google Reader has too many unread items."

It was no way at all to live. Made morons out of tons of smart people. It was like trying to eat reasonably at a buffet where they bring you the food.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:25 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Having a few hundred unread messages sitting in an email folder isn't something I worry about for even a second. It isn't some sort of Pokemon mail game where I have to read them all.
posted by Mitheral at 11:32 AM on April 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


I somehow manage to cope with hundreds of emails a day from the various list serves I'm on

That's a little disingenuous. You've opted into those. Moreover, the very fact that you are someone who is opting into "various list serves" indicates that you're likely on the far end of being tech savvy.

It sort of misses the point to have a thread where MetaFilter gets all IT-angry about Facebook's algorithms. Facebook is aiming for broader audiences, which necessarily requires compromises that will leave some disappointments. With that in mind, I'm looking at the specific disappointments being raised here and it seems like Facebook is faring pretty well.

On the other hand, I do enjoy the, "Everybody is leaving Facebook, it'll be dead soon" comments. I've been reading those on MetaFilter for years, and my news feed is as active as ever. I guess if it's fun to play the stopped-clock game, so be it, but I see no indication Facebook is becoming less useful for me or anyone in my social circles.
posted by cribcage at 11:41 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Didn't Google+ address a lot of the privacy and information firehose aspects of FB, only to find out that people didn't really give a shit, even if they'd insisted they did? I don't know a ton about Google+, so I could be wrong.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:53 AM on April 12, 2014


And if you actually did miss Aunt Bea's photos, why not use the SUBSCRIBE button, and never miss anything from her?

Where is this SUBSCRIBE button? I see "Friends", "Following", "Message" and that little gear thing, and none of its options are SUBSCRIBE. As I recall, "Follow" was supposed to mean "see everything from this entity," but that doesn't seem to work anymore either, and frankly, I shouldn't have to go looking for yet another way to see everything when I've never told Facebook that I didn't want to see everything and Facebook has never told me that I wasn't.
posted by Etrigan at 12:41 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Where is this SUBSCRIBE button? I see "Friends", "Following", "Message" and that little gear thing, and none of its options are SUBSCRIBE. As I recall, "Follow" was supposed to mean "see everything from this entity," but that doesn't seem to work anymore either, and frankly, I shouldn't have to go looking for yet another way to see everything when I've never told Facebook that I didn't want to see everything and Facebook has never told me that I wasn't.

What you want is to add people to your "close friends list," as shown here.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:59 PM on April 12, 2014


If you add people to your "close friends" you'll get a notification every time they post something.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:04 PM on April 12, 2014


ShutterBun: "I feel like I've had to explain this a whole bunch of times, but people still complain about it, as if there's any other reasonable way to make it work."

Other reasonable way: Facebook pops up a notification saying "You seem to be receiving a high volume of updates. Would you like Facebook to [Automatically Optimize] your feed based on the friends and companies you are most interested in, would you like to [Manually Optimize] your feed, or would you like to continue seeing an [Unfiltered Feed]?"

I feel that perhaps you've been spending more time explaining this a bunch of times than thinking about whether there are actually any other reasonable ways.
posted by Bugbread at 5:20 PM on April 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


What you want is to add people to your "close friends list," as shown here.

No, what I want is for Facebook to tell me when it's changing its basic functionality -- friend someone and see what they're up to -- in a way that's roughly as unmistakable and easily reversible as what Bugbread lays out.
posted by Etrigan at 7:28 PM on April 12, 2014


I hear your frustration, but maybe I was misreading your question. I was under the impression you were asking, "How do I do [thing]?" but maybe the question was "What the hell is FB's problem?" The latter is a many-leveled thing. The former is another in a long list of Things Commonly Held as Impossible to Do on Facebook that Can Be Solved with a 20 Second Google Search. Can't help you with the latter, only the former.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:33 PM on April 12, 2014


It was less a question and more a refutation of ShutterBun's assertion that this was A) really easy to overcome and B) something that Facebook is somehow protecting me from.
posted by Etrigan at 8:44 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you want to see everything in your feed, in reverse chronological order, without Facebook fucking with it in any way, here's how:

1: Buy a Windows Phone.
2: View Facebook through your phone.

Their facebook app straight crawls your feed, no filtering, no algorithms. Downside is you can't block game updates or anything else.
posted by KathrynT at 10:55 PM on April 12, 2014


well I guess the other downside is that you have to use a Windows Phone.
posted by KathrynT at 10:55 PM on April 12, 2014 [4 favorites]




Seeing a lot of posts on FB complaining about the fact that you don't see all the posts anymore so people seem to be noticing.
posted by octothorpe at 4:47 PM on April 29, 2014


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