Facebook is under fire once again -- but this time, it's coming from its social media stars

YouTube/The Pun GuysDan Shaba (right) of The Pun Guys accused Facebook of pulling ‘the biggest bait-and-switch of all time.’
  • Facebook’s social media influencers are unhappy with a recent change that de-emphasises content shared by outside publications in favour of posts from family and friends, according to The New York Times.
  • Many Facebook influencers feel that Facebook has benefited from their presence on the site, and that Facebook has yet to repay the favour with a wide rollout of often-requested features.
  • Facebook, who says professional creators on its platform are still “incredibly important,” has reportedly participated in talks with several top social media influencers to see how it can create better creator tools and lines of communication.

Facebook is fielding more complaints, but this time, they’re coming from Facebook’s social media stars who are calling on the company to do more for its professional creators.

In a series of interviews with The New York Times’ Kevin Roose, some of Facebook’s top social media influencers said they are unhappy with a recent change made on Facebook that emphasises stories and interactions from friends and family – what Mark Zuckerberg calls “time well spent” – over that of news outlets and viral videos from social media influencers.

The unprecedented shift in Facebook’s algorithm has been a blow to many digital media companies, some of which have had to shut down after relying almost entirely on the social media platform for their readership.

But media companies aren’t the only figures affected by Facebook’s change. According to the Times, the site’s top social media influencers have seen a significant decline in traffic to their pages, as well. While some of the professional social media page managers and viral video creators the Times talked to said they understood Facebook’s thinking behind the change to its News Feed, many pointed out that they’re also partly responsible for the tremendous growth Facebook experienced in the first place. Some feel that the company has benefited from their presence without repaying the favour in a meaningful way.

Roose writes, “[Facebook’s social media influencers] argue that Facebook owes much of its growth to the kinds of entertainment they offer, and that users will spend less time on the social network if it’s not shown to them.”

Roozy Lee, a social media promoter and online influencer, told the Times that Facebook needed to start treating influencers with more respect. Another influencer with 1.2 million Facebook followers, Dan Shaba of The Pun Guys, described the shift in Facebook’s algorithm as “the biggest bait-in-switch of all time” following the company’s big push toward viral videos in 2016.

Facebook is aware of the critique, and has reportedly invited several top influencers to private meetings at the company’s headquarters to discuss how Facebook can improve influencers’ use of the site. The social media company has also been working on additional creator tools, some of which are currently being tested with small audiences.

Read the full feature, including interviews with some Facebook social media stars, over at The New York Times.

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