MAJOR Facebook Flaw

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Social Media | Posted on 16-02-2010

A lot of businesses start Facebook Pages in order to keep Facebook Users (Fans) connected to their brand.  What they don’t realize is that fans of your page aren’t getting your updates.

What?  Who?  Why?  Huh?

That’s right.  A large percentage of your fans probably are NOT getting your updates, making Facebook as a point of contact pretty useless for businesses using Facebook Pages.

How I Discovered This

I created a Facebook Page just to play around with it’s features.  I set the page up and joined it myself on my personal account.  I updated the page and went to my news feed to see if it was showing up like you would assume it would.  It didn’t!  This lead me on a bit of a wild goose chase trying to figure out why (and yes, i wasted way too much time on this).

Troubleshooting

I asked a few friends to become a fan of the page to see if they were getting the updates.  They weren’t.  I did some research to confirm that Facebook Page Updates show up in the news feed and indeed they do.

Next I used the Facebook App on my iPhone.  I took a look at the news feed and my Page Update was there.

Next I went into settings to make sure that I wasn’t blocking page updates or some nonsense like that.  I wasn’t.

The Issue

If you scroll to the bottom of your news feed you will see a link that says “Edit Options.”  If you click it you will see the people that you’ve manually hidden from your news feed as well as some other options.  One of the options is “Maximum number of friends shown in Live Feed.”  That option is defaulted to 250.  If you change that option to a number higher then the amount of friends you have, you now magically see the Page Updates.

This Makes No Sense

The reason businesses have Fan Pages is to connect with their fans.  The reason Facebook users become a Fan of a page is to get their updates.  Both parties are in mutual agreement about the relationship yet Facebook limits that relationship by default.  If someone wants to become a Fan of something they should be shown that Pages updates UNLESS they either Hide the updates or stop being a fan.  Why would you make someone jump through hoops just to achieve the relationship they desired in the first place?  Not everyone has more than 250 friends.  Those people will see the updates without a problem.  However, many people DO have more than 250 friends and those people probably won’t even know there is a setting limiting the amount of friends they are seeing in their feed.  As Facebook continues to grow this will become more and more of a problem.

I’m sure that there is some sort of algorithm at play here that assigns more of a weight to certain pages/friends based on levels of engagement.  Knowing this it still makes no sense.  People become fans to receive updates.  End of story.

The Facebook Deception

Facebook urges businesses to use Facebook Ads to grow their fan base.  They are encouraging businesses to spend money using THEIR ads to promote a page on THEIR platform yet when people become a fan of that page, they don’t necessarily get the updates.  Businesses are paying for the ability to engage with their fans yet can’t actually engage with them if the fan has more than 250 friends.  How does this make sense?

Have you found a way around this?
Have you run into this problem?
Do you have a fan page and didnt even know that users weren’t getting your updates?

Let’s discuss in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Facebook is dead. R.I.P. Facebook

    But seriously, yup. This is an epic fail.

  2. That does suck. No wonder those pages have never done any good for my business…

  3. Just helping the brand I am working for setting up their facebook fan page and run into the same problem. Plus that it seems you can hardly use any of the features and applications if you do not create a facebok profile, and it seems to be against FB terms of services to promote a biz with a profile??

  4. Algorithm only shows 2/1000 possible stories.

    I saw a great interview awhile back detailing this. There are ways around your problem with “news feed optimization” (similar to SEO)

    I have seen examples of people really gaming the news feed and popping up a ton vs. others.

    I would check out “InsideFacebook.com” they have some good articles in regards to “news feed optimization.”

    Hope this helped you a little.

  5. Good find dude!

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  7. wow i did not know this. this may explain why i usually miss most of my fan pages updates.

  8. @Dave – I just read that insidefacebook article ( http://www.insidefacebook.com/2007/07/16/inside-facebook-nfo-is-the-new-seo/ ) about news feed optimization. It’s pretty unbelievable that facebook wouldn’t just publish everything in the newsfeed that your subscribed to. That’s the point of subscribing.

    That’s like your RSS reader deciding you only want to see certain blog updates but not others based on a hidden algorithm.

    This also brings up a censorship issue. If the algorithm is hidden from its users how does Facebooks users know that they aren’t being censored? Facebook could very easily add filters that if you say something about abortion or about the president or about Facebook not to show that item in the newsfeed.

    Algorithms are NOT necessary here.

  9. You know what else is a major flaw? Their ad approval process. Makes about as much sense as this genius move.

  10. That sucks. I have spend so much money driving people to several different fan pages that I have. Suck… Epic FAIL

  11. Thanks for the time spent to find this out. =) I was wondering why I didn’t see anything from the fan pages I belonged to on my wall but always went to a fan page and it was loaded full of updates.

    Nice one FB! The top of the ladder is getting further away for you.

  12. Wow! Good info… Wonder how to fix this. Hmm

  13. Hm, didn’t know that… Facebook optimization, got to be kidding… :-/ The platform is getting more and more screwed up after they divided news and live… Any easy solution to resolve the problem?

  14. Hey – I don’t normally go around the blog circuit, but this post is just awesome. I’ve been dabbling with fan pages for almost 6 months and saw this too. Great find by the way.

    The ONLY way to fix this is if you have people interacting on your Fan Page. So it’s almost like a reward system. The more people that interact with your Fan Page (liking stuff, posting comments, etc.) is the ONLY way that this “limit” is increased and the News Feed get populated for people.

    Remember the key to all this is engaging your prospects and making then active in your Fan Page.

    This is the only solution I’ve seen so far. It’s not a bad thing at all. Just a way to keep the shit out.

  15. @Amish

    1) How are you supposed to get people to interact with your fan page if the page never shows up in the feed from day 1? I can understand if they said out of 20 updates we expect 2 comments or something like that but if you are never given the opportunity to get your message in front of your fans then they obviously aren’t going to interact.

    2) The fans should be in control of the content they are receiving. Who is Facebook to decide what I want to and don’t want to see? If i didn’t want to see it, I would unsubscribe or hide their updates.

  16. From what I’ve seen:

    1) Simple – You need to have a LOT of friends on your Fan Page to start. Not just a couple. You need at least 100 to get the ball rolling from what I’ve seen. The more people interact with your page, the more it shows up on THEIR wall which shows up on OTHER people’s News Feeds. So the only way to get it shown on the News Feeds is for people to actually interact on your page. I know it’s kinda stupid, but that’s the best you can do.

    2) You are absolutely right, can’t do much about that!

  17. And that explains why people are ‘friend stuffing”

  18. That is incredible. Did anyone hear about this before?? It needs to be talked about more. I’ve spent several thousand bucks ON FACEBOOK ADS to get a bigger fanbase on some pages…and now this???

    I’m going to email the Techcrunch editors & others about this. I encourage you to do the same. This needs to be picked up by the big guys.

  19. I have always wondered why big corporations are using Facebook, but now I know.I guess a lot of the corporations IT people have no idea that this limit of 250 even exists.The start their Facebook profile just because everyone else is doing so.

  20. This is amazing stuff, I am sure they will be coming up with a fix soon.

  21. I’m at loss to what is going on here, Brandon.

    I have 30+ pages that I have created under my personal FB profile, nay “page”, whatever. Some of which, I’m not even a fan of myself, nevertheless, the updates show up in my own feed, and the feeds of others right off the bat, even pages with less than 100 fans. I can tell because people are commenting, “liking”, etc. on the updates.

    Something is screwy, man.

  22. @Kiley – If the fan has less than 250 friends then yes they will see it. If they have over 250 friends they may or may not.

  23. That is kooky, Brandon. Thanks for the heads-up.

  24. [...] @adhustler: Promoting a Facebook Page? Maybe You Shouldn't! http://www.adhustler.com/major-facebook-flaw/ – Please Repost! [...]

  25. Just a suggestion, but is it possible to post up on your Fan Page something that brings this to the attention of anyone with over 250 users to change the setting? I mean, its a pain-in-the-ass extra loop they have to jump through, but if they TRULY are a fan, chances are they’ll make the quick change.

  26. @Dustin – Yea it’s possible to do that but the likeliness of most people doing it is going to be low.

  27. After 39 Billion views in a content generated network….Facebook flaws do need to be uncovered.
    I commend you,Ad Hustler, not only for being proactive, even more for being able to relay the information in a simple and easy to understand format.

  28. All your fans that have under 250 friends are seeing your updates fine, but your most popular fans may not be seeing any.

    Adhustler has the story, Major Facebook Flaw

  29. Wow did not even realize this. Thank you for the great post.

  30. This is a huge pet peeve of mine… I wish that they would change this in the future.

  31. [...] Promoting a Facebook Page? Maybe You Shouldn’t!http://www.adhustler.com/major-facebook-flaw/ – Please [...]

  32. I don’t know about everyone else – but when I go to edit options now that option to change the number of feeds you see is now gone. Why does Facebook always change everything!?!?

  33. [...] #10. AdHustler MAJOR Facebook Flaw [...]

  34. Why do this content jogs my memory of another identical a single I read somewhere else?

  35. When you say you need a lot of friends – what amount are you talking about? Is 300 enough or you need more?

  36. 16A lot of businesses start Facebook Pages in order to keep Facebook Users (Fans) connected to their brand.  What they don

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