Have Facebook’s recent stock market troubles prompted it to make sweeping changes to their site that could cause severe problems for campaign organisations like ANH-Intl?

Truncated Reach

Our interest in this question stems from the sudden appearance on Facebook of something called ‘Promoted Posts’, which allows page owners to pay Facebook in order to increase the ‘Reach’ of individual posts.  Another new addition is a figure below existing posts showing the percentage of people who ‘Like’ our page that actually received that post.  Strangely enough, this figure often hovers around 16%.

Facebook's Promoted Posts

Facebook's new Promoted Posts feature in action.

This set us thinking.  Surely, when we post on our Facebook page, our posts are sent to the news feeds of everyone who Likes our page?  That being the point of Facebook, after all: to act as a medium of social exchange between like-minded individuals and organisations, who sign up to pages they’re interested in on the understanding that Facebook will keep them up to date. 

How naïve we were.

A dose of heavy metal truth

No, not the type of heavy metals we usually cover here at ANH-Intl, but the sort that involves hair, beer, guitars and shouting.  In our search for answers about what’s going on at Facebook, we came across a post on a blog called No Clean Singing (NCS), where the Administrator of said Facebook page had researched exactly the same questions as us.  (Warning for our more sensitive readers: some robust language is used at NCS!)

In short, the answers are:

  • Facebook posts are seen by an average 16% of those who Like that page
  • This is because an algorithm, known as EdgeRank, gets involved and decides how 'important’ each post is for each potential recipient
  • EdgeRank has been operational since at least 2010
  • The paid-for Promoted Posts option does work, but boosts ‘Reach’ to only around 50%

Troubling implications

Facebook justifies EdgeRank on the grounds that it reduces clutter for users, which is undoubtedly true.  Equally undeniable is that it creates a huge incentive for page owners to take advantage of the newly rolled-out Promoted Post feature, and pay to increase the paltry 16% of followers who see each post.

Unfortunately, donation-funded campaign organisations suffer a double blow: restricted Reach due to EdgeRank, and pressure on limited funds to use a Promoted Post.  And while EdgeRank was obviously not created as a response to the dire public float of Facebook, it’s easy to speculate that some new revenue-raising measure was needed in its wake.  Cue the hasty introduction of Promoted Posts.

And cue users deserting Facebook in droves, we predict.   Facebook’s day in the sun could soon be well and truly over.

Call to action

  • Please visit our Facebook page regularly to make sure you’re up to date with our posts – the chances are you’re seeing only a small fraction of them
  • Try this quick fix suggested by NCS to increase your chances of receiving our Facebook posts:

  1. Go to our Facebook page
  2. Hover your mouse over the ‘Liked’ button
  3. On the drop-down menu, click ‘+ New List’
  4. Click ‘Pages’ in the menu on the left-hand side of the box that pops up, and you should see a listing of all the Pages you like
  5. Select all the Pages whose posts you want to see in your news feed, including ANH-Intl
  6. Give your list a name (e.g. ‘Health pages’)
  7. Click ‘Done’

  • Sign up to our newsletter by entering your email address into the green box at the right-hand side of our website – it’s the best way to keep up with what we’re doing, it’s free and you’re guaranteed to receive it every week!
  • Contact Facebook to let them know how unhappy you are with these new changes, and of your concern at their potential effect on campaigning organisations


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