For some time we’ve been of the opinion that Facebook is f*cked. It’s a public company where the founder has to explain the Internet to people who own pieces of it: There’s only one way this story ends. And if rumors about Facebook’s upcoming attempt to extort businesses/high-profile users are true, well, that ending is coming a lot sooner than you think.
Essentially, Facebook is going to choke off businesses/high-profile users from their fans, unless the businesses pay up. At least that’s the plan according to Valleywag:
A source professionally familiar with Facebook’s marketing strategy, who requested to remain anonymous, tells Valleywag that the social network is “in the process of” slashing “organic page reach” down to 1 or 2 percent. This would affect “all brands”—meaning an advertising giant like Nike, which has spent a great deal of internet effort collecting over 16 million Facebook likes, would only be able to affect of around a 160,000 of them when it pushes out a post.
This comes as zero surprise to most: Facebook has been steadily hacking into “organic reach” through various methods for a year now, at least, and demanding money to restore it. The problem, though, is that Facebook doesn’t seem to understand how its own site works.
First of all, this essentially tells small businesses: “There is no point in using Facebook.” Seriously, if you’ve got 300 fans, and Facebook will only let you reach six of them organically, what makes more sense fiscally? Putting up a sign to promote your Twitter account instead or paying Facebook a monthly fee?
Secondly, larger businesses may be happy to pay the money, but it also means they’re going to start demanding results, and Facebook can’t provide those. Users hate advertising on social networks, and again and again, advertising campaigns on Facebook are shown to be ineffective.
Finally, this seems to be the crown jewel in Facebook’s ongoing campaign to annoy its users into leaving. People are already griping about the site’s annoyingly built feed, to the point where people are liking their own posts just to ensure their friends actually see them. Making it impossible to follow anything you actually care about defeats the purpose of the site, and expecting users not to notice is asking for trouble.
If Facebook were alone in social media, this plan would be evilly brilliant. But everybody has a Google+ account, whether they want one or not, and everybody has a Twitter feed. Essentially, if Facebook follows through on this plan, the only people paying will be Facebook itself.