Facebook has come to be an indispensable space and tool for everything from personal communication to politics. The company has stood by the principles of open internet and states that its services are free -- but now, without any warning or fanfare, they're starting to charge some of us money for it.
While ads have long-time been a part of Facebook's revenue stream, only recently are some Page owners prompted to pay to get their updates out to more of their fans.
Wait, what? I don't see everything posted by Pages that I've Liked? And Fans of my Pages aren't seeing all my posts? Nope. Not even close.
In the past, Page owners could message all their fans. Then Page posts were integrated into News Streams, and the number of Fan News Streams reached was dictated by Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm. Now, for Pages with over 400 Fans, we have to pay hard cash. (For those with less Fans, we're stuck reaching only a small percentage of Fans, with no "option" to pay to increase visibility.)
This slide into paid messaging effectively silences those with less fans and/or less financial muscle, excluding them from one of the most important social and organizational tools in the world. Facebook's slogan on the Sign Up page is "It's Free and Always Will Be," yet the freedom to connect and take action (or even to compete and promote) has just been diminished for individuals, organizations, and companies for whom paying is a hardship.
This latest change also engenders a system where only brands and celebrities will afford to reach their Fans, which will slowly turn Facebook into a space controlled by and in service only to profiteers, not public internet users.
Let's remember that the general public has used and grown Facebook, helping it to become the profitable power that it is today. Page owners are not just companies with huge budgets, but also people like you and me, everyone from authors to construction workers. Without the support of its users, Facebook would crumble. We can encourage Facebook to not play dirty, and fight to keep the lines of communication free!
See more at:
Facebook Fans Aren't Seeing Your Posts - from AlwaysUpward.com
Facebook Charging Fees to Promote Page Posts - from Sodahead.com
Facebook: Here's How You Pay to Promote Posts - from Mashable.com
More on Facebook quietly making money off of its members:
On Facebook, 'Likes' become Ads - from NYTimes.com