For a communications company loved around the world it’s nearly impossible to reach facebook itself. Recently we have discovered that first hand.
For five years my facebook account was labelled Cornwall Free News (Jamie Gilcig). Over a third of the accounts we’ve checked out actually use a person’s name. We also had an official Facebook page for CFN and had several groups and pages that we either started or were a part of.
Over the last five years of so we accrued over 3,000 facebook friends, but lo and behold a few weeks ago facebook sent us a message stating that they had changed our account over into a business page. My facebook friends were lost. Several thought we’d blocked them. We had this new page with over 2,000 likes but zero content. All of our facebook transcripts from chats were gone. All of our photos and entire history; zapped by some machine or minimum wager’s click of a keyboard.
It’s been an interesting few weeks since. First I discovered how impossible it seems to be to reach facebook including through media relations. Of the three messages sent to them not a single one has been replied to as of yet.
Separately a hate group had been started up by a small posse of people that I’d blocked on facebook and twitter because that’s what you do with trolls and anti-social types. One of the good things about facebook is that you can turn people off. Nobody is forced to read anyone else.
Of course it’s a challenge to monitor and moderate a community as large as Facebook; but if the NSA can so should Mr. Zuckerberg, right? 😉 We are a newspaper. We know someone at Facebook will read this; but what about individuals and small businesses? What can they do to be heard by the gargantuan corporation that facebook has become?
The Social Media site also needs to improve the reporting process, and it needs to clearly have a process for those that it is being abused against. Facebook is like a gun in the sense that it’s just a tool or object. How it’s used can decide whether it’s a benefit or evil.
There have been instances when we have used our facebook channel previously to help find lost pets and even help get news out about crises in our community. Now that’s all gone essentially.
Facebook also is playing with the site to try and raise more income. I have no problem with that, but I can tell you a business like ours certainly isn’t going to consider investing dollars into any provider that treats us like this and from our research we aren’t alone.
Facebook declined to comment on the percentage of fans that see posts from a typical Facebook Page (the last publicly disclosed figure was 16% in the summer of 2012), but the company admitted in December that posts from Pages are reaching fewer users. Facebook attributes this change to increased competition as more people and companies join its service. The typical user is inundated with 1,500 posts per day from friends and Pages, and Facebook picks 300 to present in the News Feed. Getting squeezed out are both posts from Pages and meme photos as Facebook shifts its focus to what it deems “high quality” content.
The solution for brands with declining engagement, according to Facebook, is to buy ads. “Like many mediums, if businesses want to make sure that people see their content, the best strategy is, and always has been, paid advertising,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
Today facebook may be number one; but certainly instances like our community have experienced and playing games with what we see will only help a new company come along and offer what the public wants? I’m sure there’s a fine line and balance, but like any service if you change the secret sauce formula too much people stop buying the burger.
What do you think dear viewers of CFN? What are your favorite Social media sites? You can post your comments below.
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