TechCrunch: Facebook redesigns biz Pages for utility as feed reach declines. “An unescapable fact of Facebook’s ubiquity is that as more Pages and people compete for limited News Feed attention, the percentage of a business’ followers who see their posts declines. Reach dropped 52 percent in just the first half of 2016, for example. Some admins consider it a conspiracy to get Pages to pay for ads boosting their posts, exacerbated by poor communication from Facebook and it telling businesses to work or advertise to get more followers that they now can’t reliably access via feed. But in reality, it’s a natural side effect of increased supply paired with plateauing demand.” Facebook Pages have been a disappointment to me for over three years now.
Poynter: How Facebook tried to block distribution of a blockbuster story. “Last week, Reveal’s Aura Bogado and Matt Smith posted a blockbuster story. The piece, about a treatment center housing migrant children accused of coercing them to take powerful psychiatric drugs, was destined for a broad audience, particularly with the debate about President Trump’s family separation policy. So Reveal’s Byard Duncan thought he could spend $150 to promote the story to a wider group of the 170,000 readers that Reveal helped create on Facebook — but which Facebook has limited its access to. The promotion of the story was important as the administration planned a vast expansion of these migrant centers and internment camps. Facebook said no.”
World Wide Web Foundation: How Facebook manages your information diet: Argentina case study. “As more people get online, we are seeing the construction and consolidation of the digital public square. Increasingly, as people spend more time online, this digital public square is becoming where people define and redefine their identities, civic discussions take place, and political organisation leads to tangible shifts in power. As with physical public squares, the architecture and rules that govern the space will determine the power dynamics that will shape our society. With the power to decide what we see and what we don’t, private companies and their algorithms have a tremendous influence over public discourse and the shape of the digital public square. Focusing on Facebook, our new research seeks to better understand the algorithms that manage our daily news diets and what we can do to make sure they work in our best interests.”
Business Insider: A guide to the confusing world of sponsored Facebook posts, which make it hard to distinguish between ads and journalism. “It used to be pretty easy to tell the difference between advertising and editorial content on Facebook. If a post had a little ‘sponsored’ label on it, that was a red flag telling you, ‘Hey, a brand paid for this, you should treat it as an advertisement.’ But that line has gotten blurrier for Facebook users, especially over the last few months as Facebook has limited how far posts from media companies can spread on their own (so-called ‘organic reach’).”
Search Engine Journal: 4 Unconventional Ways to Reclaim Lost Facebook Organic Reach. “Facebook has been the hot-button topic of social and political discussions for the past few weeks. Even still, more than 2 billion people still use the platform monthly, totaling to 50 million hours of usage. But reaching those users without paying a now massively increased advertising cost still feels next to impossible.” I hope you don’t take this as clickbait-y, because the whole article is really worth a read, but #2 is so counterintuitive I’m going to be thinking about it all day.
Nieman Lab: Has Facebook’s algorithm change hurt hyperpartisan sites? According to this data, nope. “An ongoing engagement. It seems as if Facebook’s algorithm changes — which deprioritize publisher content in News Feed in favor of content from family and friends, and are supposed to favor trusted news sources over untrusted ones — would result in decreased traffic for hyperpartisan sites. But so far, data provided to Nieman Lab by NewsWhip suggests, hyperpartisan sites — as well as two totally-just-fake-news sites — are doing as well or better on Facebook, at least when it comes to engagement, as they were before the changes.”
Nieman Journalism Lab: Two months post-News Feed tweak: real news is not drowning, comments are growing, and videos are still winning, NewsWhip says. “It’s been two months since Facebook dropped the bomb for many publishers about changing its algorithm, demoting news from about five percent of one’s News Feed to four percent in favor of ‘meaningful interactions.’ NewsWhip, the social media monitoring company, crunched some numbers on how publishers’ Facebook pages have been faring since then and offered some tips for not being the next Little Things, Cooking Panda, or Opposing Views. “