Is Facebook Too Big To Survive? Micro-Managing Itself Out Of Existence?

Image Courtesy of Cartoonist Walt Handelsman of Newsday

We have all heard the phrase “too big to fail,” but Facebook may be becoming an example of “Too Big To Survive.” It has been common chatter on Facebook for some time now, Fan Pages complaining that their “Reach” is declining and their posts are getting fewer and fewer views. So much so that Facebook addresses the issue on their Help Center page.

(Image Source: Facebook)

(Image Source: Facebook)

Of course they also offer tips to help you increase the number of people who see your posts, but the answer is less than helpful. Here’s what they say.

(Image Source: Facebook)

(Image Source: Facebook)

Let’s examine this suggestion in more detail. First, the problem is fewer people seeing any given post, so if they don’t see it then how can they interact with it? You can’t Like, Comment on or Share a post that does not appear in your Newsfeed, unless the Pages pay to boost the post or you make the effort to actually go to the Pages you Like and see what you’re missing. Paying may be a viable option big organizations like NIKE, the Democrat Party or Coke, but what about the little guys? The small businesses, the grassroots activists, the musicians and such who use Facebook to try and get their name, their message or their product out there and have little if anything to budget towards advertising?

Pages that have built a following in the past, can’t even depend on people who have Liked their Page seeing their posts. Obviously, if a Page has a million fans, not all of those fans are going to be on Facebook at any given time when they publish a post, but pages are reporting that they get less than 5% of their total Likes as views on any given post and some get less than 1% viewing. Those numbers represent the original “fan” of the page who saw it, as well as those on their friends list who saw it as a result of the first person interacting with the post in some way.

Then there is the political ideology component. Conservative-themed Pages have been growing in numbers on Facebook which many claim is at odds with Facebook’s ideology, or at least that of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. True or not, with stories like the IRS targeting conservative groups, the idea of ideological discrimination is not hard to imagine. Another contentious issue is guns, reportedly Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America and others have pressured Facebook management to “control” firearm sales and promotion through Facebook. You cannot buy or sell anything “through” Facebook as it is not an e-commerce site and Facebook already prohibits gun-related paid advertising.

One conservative gun-related Facebook Page has recently been banging the drum on this issue, to the point that they have even posted screenshots of the massive decline in their Page Reach to illicit more interaction and support from the few of their fans who still see their posts.

The Facebook Page Cold Dead Hands, a 2nd Amendment Advocacy and gun rights educational page, posted this screenshot showing the precipitous decline and continued restriction of their Post Reach.

(Image Source: Cold Dead Hands on FB)

(Image Source: Cold Dead Hands on FB)

Patrick James, owner of the Cold Dead Hands Facebook Page and CEO of CDH, Inc. claims that his weekly Page Reach dropped from 43 million to less than 3 million practically overnight. Even with almost a million Facebook followers, posts made by the page are only being seen by 40K people on average, whereas just a few weeks ago those same types of posts were getting 200K to a million or more views. Although Facebook recommends fan interaction to increase your Page’s Reach, Cold Dead Hands provided me with this screen capture as well. If you can’t see it, you can’t Like, Comment or Share .

Likes, Comments and Shares (Image Source: Cold Dead Hands on FB)

Likes, Comments and Shares
(Image Source: Cold Dead Hands on FB)

Facebook seems to make the argument that there is too much content for people to consume it all in a timely manner, so it must regulate what is seen. The rationale seems to be, if ALL of the content on Facebook was allowed to flow freely, then the sheer volume would make it impossible to wade through and users would not see most of the content anyway. So, the question is… does the infamous Facebook algorithm simply control content based on user interaction or does it filter based on ideological content as well?

Attempts to contact Facebook for comment have gone unanswered, but we do have this story from last month regarding a “study” done by Facebook, Facebook Study Says YOU Make Your News Feed Less Diverse, Not Their Algorithm. Critics have blasted the study as an unscientific and self-contradictory attempt to shift blame. Facebook itself says it only shows you what you like and interact with, and then only in small doses, so again the question remains, how can you see what they don’t show in your Newsfeed? Then there is this from April; 2015: Facebook Declares War On Page Reach.

Fan Pages disgruntled with the restriction of their page posts, users disgruntled with not being able to see much of the content from pages they have liked, the bottom line revolving more and more around money now that Facebook is a publicly traded company…

Is Facebook Too Big To Survive? Anyone remember MySpace? Anyone?

About the Author

Jon Britton
Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. "Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion." A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and writing zombie stories to politics and News. He is an avid "people watcher," political junkie and has a ravenous appetite for history and current events alike.