Facebook Defends Page Reach

Author: Adi Gaskell
Published: November 17, 2012 at 5:45 am

facebook news feedEarlier this week Facebook came under attack from Mark Cuban after he revealed he was going to ditch Facebook advertising in response to the perceived increase in difficulty he was having reaching people that had liked his Dallas Mavericks page.  The accusation was that in order to make more money, Facebook was reducing the number of people that see regular status updates, thus forcing brands to pay for sponsored posts.

The outburst has prompted a stern defense from Facebook.  They outlined four main factors in determining whether a status update will appear in someone's news feed, and were adament that overall reach had not declined.

Will Cathcart, Facebook's News Feed Product Manager, defended recent algorithm changes.

“The problem we face with the news feed is that people come to Facebook everyday, but people don’t have enough time to check out absolutely everything that’s going on.” he told reporters.

The four factors that determine whether a Page will appear in your feed are:

  1. If you interacted with posts before, (i.e., if you like every post from a Page you're more likely to see them in future).
  2. Other people's reaction to the post, (i.e., if other people complain or hide a post you're not likely to get them either).
  3. How you responded to posts of that type previously, (i.e., if you like photos or videos from a Page previously then you're more likely to get future photos or videos).
  4. If that specific post has received complaints by other users who have seen it, or the Page who posted it has received lots of complaints in the past, you’ll be less likely to see that post.

So, according to Cathcart at least, Mark Cuban will be seeing a reduction in the reach of his status updates only if fans are not responding well to what they're seeing.

In September Facebook made it easier for users to complain about a status update.  As Cathcart explains “we started penalizing things that had an above average rate of complaints, and rewarding things that had a below average rate of complaints. Facebook believes the change was a success because engagement went up and “complaints went down in the double-digit percentage.”

Cathcart confirms, however, that while the adjustment “had a varied impact across Pages, the median reach of Page content was relatively unchanged after the algorithm change. But that will impact different pages differently depending on who those pages are connected to and what other things those people are connected to.


About this article

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Article Author: Adi Gaskell

A writer on management issues for publications such as Professional Manager, CMI, HRM Today, Business Works and Technorati. I also cover social media for Social Media Today, DZone and Social Business News.

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