Photo: Ollie Crafford via flickr
Facebook said it’s been changing its News Feed.That’s the central part of the site that shows a mix of posts from friends, messages from brands they follow, and paid ads.
It’s been under fire from marketers who say they’ve seen a drop in the number of times their posts get seen by fans on the social network.
At a press event at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. today, News Feed product manager Will Cathchart admitted that there had been fluctuations in the number of times posts got seen, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine reports.
But those fluctuations weren’t a result of changes made to penalise marketers who didn’t buy ads, Cathcart said. That’s a charge that tech billionaire Mark Cuban recently made.
Since the introduction of News Feed, Facebook has shown a small subset of posts to users, since showing all of the posts from their friends and pages they’d liked would be overwhelming. It’s constantly changed that algorithm.
In fact, Facebook made a big change to its algorithm in 2011 that didn’t generate anything like the complaints it’s seeing now.
What’s different is that Facebook has since broadened the availability of an advertising product that boosts the reach of brands’ posts for a fee. That product, Promoted Posts, is available to any advertiser whose page has at least 400 likes, a pretty low threshold; a similar but older product, Sponsored Stories, used to be available only to large advertisers.
Cathcart said Facebook had recently changed its algorithm to hide posts that generated a lot of complaints and boost posts that didn’t draw complaints. That’s lowered the number of complaints about spam that Facebook’s received—but it also hit the unpaid, organic reach some advertisers were getting on Facebook.
You know what we think the real problem here is? Advertisers have been getting a lot of free promotion on Facebook—sometimes for shoddy, boring posts that Facebook users view as spam.
But take away anything free, for any reason, and you’ll draw complaints.
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