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
- Facebook CEO
- Facebook COO
I just signed the following petition to Facebook.
Facebook is an amazing tool. Everyone I know uses it for everything from sharing pictures with far-away relatives to inviting guests to gala benefits, and I often use it in conjunction with other sites and 3rd-party apps. Facebook is incredibly interconnected and important to my life.
The only problem is…Facebook is abusing its power as a monopoly might. As one of the 800 million users who helped build Facebook and make it the success that it is today, I'm also at the whim of Facebook's decisions about how its site will work. I recognize and have trusted that most of Facebook's design and function changes are to better its usability and my experience. However, I object to Facebook's latest changes which force Page owners to pay in order to reach my News Stream. I Like Pages in order to receive their updates, and I was shocked to learn that Page owners now have to pay on top, just so that I can see them as I used to.
To be forced into paying for Pages through a slow stripping away of free Page functionality is not only amoral, but bad business practice. In the past, I unhappily noticed as Fan messaging was removed, as updates got shown to less fans, and now as the shocking payment window popped up for Page admins--which feels like the last straw. This slide into paid messaging effectively silences and discriminates against those with less financial muscle, excluding them from one of the most important social and organizational tools in the world.
Don't forget that most of your users are your public customers, not businesses, and we can leave just as easily as we came. Especially in a time of such economic strife, we stay on Facebook precisely because of its helpful, open, free nature.
I ask that you re-prioritize Page updates in News Streams and stop charging Page owners for their updates to reach members. And going into the future, I ask that you do not discriminate against or exclude any members with financial barriers to full membership. I ask that you do not slowly monetize each aspect of Facebook as has been hinted at with these recent developments, but rather keep it free and open to all people.
I hope you will stand by your tagline on the Sign Up page, "It's Free and Always Will Be."
Julia Barry started this petition with a single signature, and now has 398 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.