Thanks but no thanks, Facebook

Facebook is making the news for a while now with their artificial limitation of the so-called “organic reach” of a pages’ posts (that’s the amount of people that will see a new post from a page directly in their Facebook Newsfeed). The latest one that I read is this article on Gawker’s ValleyWag. There’s also that article on The Federalist that has an insight into how FB’s Newsfeed algorithm works.

I was curious how beneficial spending a little money on Facebook would be for my monthly “print promotion” feature (that I begun running regularly in February). I “boosted” the post with $5, and selected a demographic that I thought would match: 28 years and older, Northern America, ie. Canada, the US, and Mexico, interested in arts and photography. And this is the result:

Results of Facebook post Boost - that was totally worth it!
Results of Facebook post Boost – that was totally worth it!

Out of a total of 9441 people who saw the post in their Newsfeed, a staggering fourteen clicked on “Like”, and one, ONE actually clicked through to see the actual promotion. I think it’s needless to say that I’m not doing this again, ever. And I’m not even beginning about the hilarious “this post is performing soooo much better” notifications that Facebook begun showing after they started limited the reach.

But actually, I’m taking it further: I will delete my Facebook photography page by the end of March. You see… I created the page for my Facebook friends originally, because I wanted to give them a choice – not everyone wants to see my photos all the time. That’s ok. Initially, most of my friends “liked” the page, and they interacted when I posted something. All was well. Then I got ambitious, and bought additional Facebook “Likes” for the page. How that works out totally against your page was outlined in Derek Muller’s video:

Then came Facebook’s adjustment of “organic reach”. And I had bought a thousand extra “non interacting followers” on my page that actually hurt it (as outlined in the video). Further adjustments by Facebook brought my organic reach down from about 100 to 30-50 for the average post now, and 200 for the extremely popular posts.

I’m not selling workshops, or ebooks, or make money through affiliate programs. I made the decision that my photography page is about – tadaaa – my photography.

And I came to the conclusion: that’s just not worth it. Why would I do this to myself? Why would I go to my page, and look at the depressing statistics under each post, when I originally only wanted to share my photos with friends, and anyone else who actually wanted to see them? Buying the extra “Likes” was a stupid mistake, but the damage is done.

Facebook is making a grave mistake here: they’re treating (and limiting) all pages alike – it doesn’t matter whether you’re a corporation (with an ad budget), a non-profit, an artist of any kind, a non-commercial Web radio, or a fan/fun page.

I’ve been contributing to the attractiveness of Facebook with my content, gave my content to them for free and agreed to their horrible terms of use – and now they want to rip me off? I wish them good luck with that. For me it’s “no thanks” – I just don’t have the money to pay them so that the people who want to see my photos get to actually see them.

I have a personal profile on Facebook obviously, and you can follow me there if you like (note: following only – I do not accept friend requests from people that I don’t know anymore; Facebook’s “privacy” system is far too shady for that), but I’m not sharing my photos there regularly.

If you’re interested in keeping up with my photography, you can subscribe to this blog via email (see footer) or RSS, my main photography site’s newsfeed via email or RSS, and you can follow me on Flickr, Google+ and Twitter.

10 thoughts on “Thanks but no thanks, Facebook

  1. I dont get FaceBook and the “target” audience. I boosted a few promotions in my past and nothing came from it. But I see all these local area “Photographers” who are horrid and they seem to get so many likes and business. I have come to face the truth that most people don’t know good, professional Photographers when they see them. So I guess that is why these people are insanely successful on FaceBook, I have had my business page for about 4 years now and I think its quite a shame that the people who want to see my work, like you said, cant unless I pay. Its unfortunate that FaceBook is the highest used Social Media these days and it doesnt do me a bit of good!


    1. Some people just have the “social gene”. I haven’t. That’s ok. Facebook is all right for keeping up with personal friends – and for nothing else. 🙂 And that’s their biggest problem. Apparently, there’s not enough money in selling user data to advertisers.

      And for consuming news and staying in touch with artists and organizations, their filtering and limiting is wrong. I do not randomly like pages just for fun. I follow only those whose updates I really want to see. So from a user’s perspective, Facebook’s limiting of reach and visibility is an intrusion and goes directly against the preferences I expressed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re pulling the right plug. Btw, I recently watched the Veritasium video on the fraud and it is quite disturbing. Facebook seems to go less meaningful media all the time. I’m not saying it is easy to do (business) decisions on features on such a big platform but these features seem ill. While the consequences of the features/changes touch a large user base, I think that the number of people who don’t understand what’s going on is also huge and even if they do understand they probably don’t escape. So the net result for FB could be positive, financially, but it doesn’t have positive ring. Dishonesty, low integrity come to my mind. Or then it’s an attempt to fix something in the business model. Meaning: something is going less than well or is in danger of going down the hill. It can sound alarming just when FB is setting up their first data centers abroad. The long term effect of these features may change the course down. I believe in integrity in business in general. Trust, respect etc. If those are missing, why to struggle? The Fuse is lit. Waiting for the Backfire.


  3. Great write up, Alex. I long ago abandoned my photography page after realizing I got more “attention” on my personal page when I posted the same photo to both. The photography page was the sound of crickets cricketing. I just haven’t deleted it yet hoping that something would change. But it won’t. That has become painfully clear. FB leaves a baaaaad taste in my mouth in general, but their pages are absolutely horrible.


    1. Keep the page, Christin. Just leave it dormant. I would probably keep mine to be able to resurrect it in the future (should it become necessary, for whatever reason), but with the number of bought “Likes” that are actually hurting the reach (because zero interaction comes from them), it’s better to get rid of mine. Should I ever need one again, I can always start over – I have no doubt that my actual Facebook friends who liked the page in the past will like a new one in the future. 🙂


  4. Hi Alex – I made my way to your blog thanks to your liking a post (dear disappointment) on one of my other blogs – echoes from emptiness.
    This article really resonates with me. I also have a Fb page (the awakened eye) which was created as a side-kick to the website of the same name. I’m finding that my posts on it don’t even show up on my own timeline or pages feed! How any of those who generously ‘liked’ the page originally ever see the content is a mystery to me. It limps along, with Fb constantly goading me to invest in promoting… I am not selling anything, just creating a little community of creatives with a contemplative bent. Rapidly realising it’s not worth my time…
    Thanks for the helpful post, and for liking one of mine!


    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Miriam. Your remark that you’re not selling anything is excellent. So many pages like yours, which are more like “community front-ends” are affected by this, it is really sad.


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