Today a friend pinged me on Twitter. “Guess what?” She said. “People are randomly getting added to private Facebook groups.” While I haven’t found any news that this is a global or isolated glitch, it doesn’t really matter: after all, Facebook has such a bad public relations problem that it SEEMS possible.
Lately I’ve been thinking long and hard about exiting from the social network, but the only thing that’s holding me back is my involvement with a handful of really great groups. Unlike every other corner of Facebook, they have not yet started restricting or hiding updates within groups so at least there I can see what my friends are posting.
Here’s the thing: I understand that Facebook is a free service, and I pay for it by seeing their ads and by allowing them to catalog my data. I’ve never expected any true privacy from Facebook, but it was where I could check in with all my friends and see what’s going on.
Until recently, anyway. Now I have to hunt to find my friend’s updates because Facebook is picking and choosing what I get to see. It’s even worse when it comes to hearing updates from friend’s businesses or blogs; now in order for us fans to see what’s on a page the owner of the page has to pay to promote the posts. Yet when I tried to promote my own posts, it didn’t seem to have any value.
I understand that Facebook is under pressure from its funders to increase their revenue stream. But why does that mean I can’t find my friends? The blog Dangerous Minds puts it brilliantly in their article, “Facebook: I Want My Friends Back!“:
Summing up, Facebook has taken a pee in their own pool from quite a lofty height, turning vast armies of “influentials” against the company, people who are now making plans—born of necessity—to bolt from that pool and to stop putting any effort there. Furthermore, Facebook’s greedy grab will have the knock-on effect of causing many blogs to simply throw in the towel, diminishing Facebook’s own business ecosystem and Facebook’s value to its own users to the point where only Axe Deodorant, Taco Bell and Nike will be showing up in your Facebook newsfeed, which after all, is pretty much the sole point of Facebook in the first place! They’ve deliberately broken their own product’s biggest selling point. Whose idea was that?
What do you think? Will you stick with using Facebook to keep up with friends and promote your blog and products?