Social media giant Facebook has been under scrutiny recently as it adjusts its ‘Share’ algorithm to effectively block what would otherwise be a viral or popular post. Several large and influential websites have completed in-depth studies into the effects of the Facebook changes that have seen the death of the organic viral Facebook posts. See here here and here
It appears that Mark Zuckerberg, not content with the behemoth of a platform that he has created has decided that normal users (not advertisers) should pay more if they want their posts seen.
We conducted a simple experiment of our own and posted this to our Facebook page and boosted the content for several days at a cost of £15. The results were impressive and throughout the paid for term we saw large traffic spikes to our website. We then asked one of our fans to post the same link to a group related to the link in question. Results for the first day were impressive (in fact far outreaching the paid boost). However as soon as day two arrived nothing. Facebook had identified that a user had posted something to a group that was extremely popular and gathering momentum and stopped it dead. When I say it stopped it dead it actually suspended the account of the fan that posted the content.
The reasons for this are pretty obvious. It is quite sad that we will now never see a natural, organic viral Facebook posting. It means that everything we see on Facebook that appears to be popular with likes, reactions, comments and shares is basically paid for and not popular because people like it.
For large firms with huge advertising budgets it makes sense for Facebook to pursue compensation for advertising space. However for small news sites that just enjoy what they do it makes the Facebook advertising space an impossibly expensive place to be.
Success can still be enjoyed using Pinterest or Twitter but at least for now it seems that Facebook has taken the fun out of viral posts and that they would rather their users see artificially promoted items rather than things people actually like.