Posts Tagged ‘Facebook Changes’
Things never seem to stay the same in the world of Facebook. Since December when the social network changed its default settings to share users’ profile information with anyone, unless a specific user opted out, Facebook has received a healthy amount of flak from privacy advocates and regular members eager to keep their profile info to themselves. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, then defiantly declared we were headed to “a web where the default is social” last month when he expanded his definition of “anyone” – now the network was not only opening up profiles to other users, they were beginning to open up profiles to third-party websites.
Quitters Far From Winning
Facebook’s privacy battle has only escalated. The recent changes prompted a small but fierce group of insurgents to mobilize behind “Quit Facebook Day,” adopting the final day of the month of May as their D-Day, publishing on their site: “If you agree that Facebook doesn’t respect you, your personal data, or the future of the web, you may want to join us.” As of this blog post, the QuitFacebookDay.com movement is just shy of 12,500 pledges to quit on the 31st.
Facebook, which was probably hoping to lay low for a little while, also grabbed the cover of Time Magazine, due to hit newsstands (coincidentally) on May 31 with an article on the privacy concerns of the social network, called it the “the Web’s sketchy Big Brother, sucking up our identities into a massive Borg brain to slice, dice and categorize for advertisers.” For all the doomsday rhetoric, worries over the site have yet to materialize into any concern regarding the overall stability of the network; the Quit movement would need to increase its members by 400 times to equal 1% of the total Facebook userverse.
Naturally looking to avoid Time Magazine’s characterization, Facebook has signaled today that they are reconsidering their privacy settings. From a series of crisis management meetings of senior staff for the social network, all agreed that the privacy settings were at best confusing and at worst exploitative. It is unclear at this point whether these changes would include an unlikely abandonment of Zuckerberg’s “open graph” proposal he unveiled last month or will satisfy privacy advocates. Facebook, nonetheless, stresses its desire to remain “user-friendly,” thus fueling speculation that the default setting may be switched back, meaning only those users who opt-in will be sharing their public information with the vast public of third-party websites. This would likely satisfy their near 500 million person network, as we only want to have a choice in the matter. All in all, the flak Facebook faces nor the U-turn Facebook management is about to pull will likely hurt the stability of the massive network. Sometimes things change while remaining the same.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, surprised his almost 500 million man strong user-verse this week by unveiling new features for the social network at the F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco. Some initial response has been hyperbolic, claiming an end to the Internet as we know it; however, conventional wisdom indicates that major changes to one of the Internet’s most popular Websites will doubtlessly impact our online experience in a dramatic way. Zuckerburg’s vision is extraordinary and revolutionary; in his keynote, Zuckerburg proposed the Web as a social being, where you, your friends, your brands , and your favorite bands (among other things) are all a part of the experience. Ultimately, Facebook is attempting to socialize the Web in a much deeper way than any previous vision.
Open Graph to Blur Existing Distinctions between Websites
The main feature of Zuckerburg’s vision includes the “Open Graph.” The CEO highlighted current issues in connecting Facebook friends to one another through their Yelp or Pandora accounts, leaving many people unconnected precisely when they are sharing informed personal insight. As a result, Zuckerburg has proposed the Open Graph, blurring the lines of current distinct Websites.
The Open Graph is essentially Facebook’s method for reading tags from other Websites to decipher what information their users are “liking.” For example, IMDb starting immediately will include “Like” buttons for films, and Facebook will publish your recent favorite film. Likewise, favorite plays on Pandora will be published on your profile. Furthermore, this process will be fluid, allowing for information from a CNN article – liked on CNN.com and published on Facebook – to appear when you hover over the News Feed story. Facebook has paired with major partners – including Microsoft, CNN, and ESPN – ensuring that there will be enough Websites from which users can begin to test these features.
A lot to “Like” about the Changes to Fan Pages
For brands and businesses, it just got a lot easier to gain fans. Zuckerburg announced that a single line of code will integrate a “Like” option onto Websites, so that one click can ensure an interested customer has connected to the brand via Facebook. Just like the major partners, brands that include this code will make their website, a fan’s News Feed, and their fan page separated by less than three clicks.
There are skeptics who question whether the public desires to be so steeply invested in Facebook, or social networking for that matter, that are unsure of whether these changes to Facebook will indeed succeed. It is important to keep in mind that Facebook’s 500 million person strong network can certainly find a sizeable group of test subjects. The future of social networking and the Internet is uncertain; however, it seems there’s consensus to the claim that major changes are in the pipeline.
As of April 19th, 2010, Facebook no longer offers users the ability to “Become a Fan” of a page. Instead, the option to “Like” a page will be the new way to connect with a company’s fan page. This is not to be confused with the option to “Like” a status, comment, photo, etc. however, which will still simply mean showing one’s approval for another’s action.
Instead, this new form of liking will carry all the same connotation as becoming a fan used to, meaning stories from a page one likes will still show up in their newsfeed and a list of pages one likes will still be displayed in their info section. This change may seem arbitrary and unnecessary on Facebook’s behalf—considering the web has seen a flurry of articles about the existence and effect of this change on Facebook and SEM.
Why Change One Word?
So, many people are wondering why Facebook would go through all this trouble to change one word on their website. Facebook has stated that they made this change to promote consistency throughout the site. Basically, instead of having different terms for different actions, Facebook wants to group as many actions together as possible.
Moreover, a recent study revealed that Facebook users click the “Like” button much more frequently than they click the “Become a Fan” button. Therefore, there may be some grounds to support changing the button based upon this study; however, it would seem to us, as Internet marketers, like comparing apples and oranges.
Future of the Changes
In general, this change reflects Facebook’s attempt to make connecting with a fan page less committal, in an effort to promote user fan page interaction, as this is their main source of revenue. They are considering “liking” something to be less serious than “becoming a fan.” Facebook expects that this change will positively affect users’ probabilities of connecting with a page.
The question then becomes, once users realize the change and comprehend that “liking” a page is equivalent to previously “becoming a fan,” will their behavior still confirm to Facebook’s predictions? We aren’t sold but regardless, Facebook contends it will stimulate a permanent shift in user perception of connecting to fan pages.
Only time will tell whether this change will have a significant effect on Facebook users’ behavior, but in the meantime, Facebook page owners should ensure their followers understand that nothing has changed about their relationship with the fan page, other than the name of the most important action.