Mark Zuckerberg with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington in September.
The popular Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch—which is owned by AOL—published an article by a fellow named Josh Constine that puffed its own chest out, and purported to be a “factual” take-down of my FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK post that went viral a few weeks ago.
I skimmed the article, titled “Killing Rumors With Facts: No, Facebook Didn’t Decrease Page Feed Reach To Sell More Promoted Posts” noted that Constine’s definition of a “fact” appeared to be something that someone working for a big corporation had told him and mentally filed it under “TD:DR” (“Too Dumb: Didn’t Read”).
To me, it smelled of “damage control” and appeared to be a story that didn’t originate in an editor’s assignment, but from a suggestion from a Facebook publicist.
Read his article and draw your own conclusions about the motivation(s) behind it. Constine never even bothered to email me, but he sure seemed eager to hear what two Facebook representatives had to say.
His article also made a curious point of insulting TechCrunch’s competitor, the Ars Technica blog, by implying that it was beneath them, or was somehow naive, for Ars Technica to have written in a neutral tone of my viral Facebook “rumor,” as he put it (Casey Johnston, the Ars Technica reporter who wrote the piece has a degree in Applied Physics from Columbia University, whilst Josh Constine has made a career writing about Facebook professionally from what I can tell).
Frankly, it didn’t really hold my interest enough for me to do much more than just scroll to the end and click it off.
My wife isn’t like that and she seemed upset by the TechCrunch article. That is until she noticed that, by a rather wide margin, the commenters were calling “bullshit” on Constine so vehemently.
Some samples—they’re cherry-picked, sure, but not unrepresentative, I don’t think—starting with the highest up-voted comment which has been “liked” 156 times. It’s from user “Beware of Images” who has Magritte’s pipe as his avatar. There’s nothing worse than when the first commenter burns your logic to the ground in a just a few short, sharp paragraphs:
OK Josh, if I understand correctly, I should dismiss my own experience, as well as that of all my admin colleagues because you’ve posted some graphs?
If your logic was true, this should have been a gradual phenomenon. In the case of my page, and those of the admins I know, it happened just as FB released Promoted Posts. And it was not subtle either, I was reaching 4-5 times more page members previously. Of course that number is deceiving, since that was when the page had 30,000 fans, compared with 136,000 today.
So you’re telling me that 100,000 new fans plus 3/4 of my original fan-base all suddenly found my posts spamy? I find that hard to believe, especially when my page is educational and does not promote any commercial service or product.
Also, your logic is not sound. Feeds have a limit, and if you allow Doritos, Axe, m&m’s, Coke… to spend on Promoted Posts, someone else’s posts are being pushed out. Most likely the posts of community and educational pages that can’t afford to pay.
By the way, after several attempts I did get a reply from Facebook. You know what? they did’t tell me I was being spamy, or that it seemed that my 136,000 new fans were all adding new pages like crazy so there was more competition (both pretty absurd assertions). No, they suggested I spend money on Promoted Posts. Go figure!
Sorry, but the map is not the territory, so faced with my own experience and reality, I’ll choose it over your graphs.
Ouchy and if that wasn’t enough, there’s more…
Nyah Wynne: I don’t buy it either. During the same timeframe I noted a—severe—dropoff in the number of articles I got from my page-likes. Including when I used the ‘most recent’ rather than the ‘top stories’ feed. It’s fairly obvious that Dangerous Minds has noted a real thing, and Facebook is merely hiding the change.
Chase Buckner, Co-Founder/Owner at White Bulldog: Horseshit. Just about everyone I know who manages business pages has seen a massive decline in post reach. For example, just this week I saw one client (local restaurant in a tourist town with very high post engagement) go from a weekly average reach of 300k+ down to less than 10k now - a drop of -98.47% according to Facebook. Please explain tome how/why that would occur basically overnight…
Cendrine Marrouat, Journalist, Blogger: Interesting how some are always bent on defending Facebook no matter the kind of murky excuse the company uses to justify what we have known all along. Meanwhile, these same people spend their time discrediting everything else.
Rick Hans,: “The launch of Promoted Posts had no impact on the news feed reach of the average Page”. Wow it was just an amazing coincidence that every one of the many pages I admin all dropped views at the same time. Gosh, it sounds like me, and a few million other page admins around the world just got unlucky at the same time!
Brandon Wirtz: Well glad TechCrunch is so easy to game. They clearly didn’t test this. I have a sand box of pages that only imaginary users are friends of. I can confirm that Pages got a steep drop in their appearance in news feeds, AND in apps that show all news via the API only certain types of posts are now showing.
If FB told it to you, it is probably untrue.
Chandy Bing, Founder/Writer at Xamable: The article is not bad at all, but the analysis is partial so biased. First, Trying to see the issue only like a rumor was a wrong start. In fact, at some point, you should consider the user experience. I manage many Facebook pages and so do many people. We got graphs and facts too. Since FB released promoted posts, there is a significant traffic drop. Obviously, there’s a causal link.
lixoaqui: So… your data is better because you asked and they said No? Everybody else that is showing their numbers are just idiots? Nice “journalism” mate: I’m always right!
Just a small doubt: if FB really changed edgerank to sell more would they ever admit it? Yeah… right…
This commenter used our FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK graphic:
I Want My Friends Back: It was difficult to hear what this article’s author was saying with his lips wrapped so tightly around Facebook’s sex organs. But it still sounds like B.S.
You get the picture, the poor guy was just shit on... mocked mercilessly and repeatedly for his pro Facebook Kool-Aid drinking nonsense (and by people who actually know what they’re talking about—what a novel approach—because they maintain Facebook fan pages themselves). So much for young Mr. Constine’s “myth-busting” prowess, eh?
Within those arch comments, however, my eagle-eyed wife found a fascinating article about the deeper motives behind Facebook’s recent policy changes, a beautifully argued smoking gun, if you will, put together by Kartik Dayanand, a New Delhi-based social media consultant, that laid bare Facebook’s plans for world domination in such a profound way that you REALLY need to read it if you’re interested in this space and in the future of free speech and the Internet itself. (I was pleased to see that Dayanand also was inspired to compare Facebook to a James Bond villain as I did in my own (later) article.)
I’m not overstating the case, this puppy is a MUST READ.
But first, the author’s post on the TechCrunch thread:
Kartik Dayanand This post is like saying MURDER did not take place on the day everyone is saying it took place, instead it was a MURDER that took place even before anyone knew about it, so it is fine.
This is a very illogical article esp when the writing is so clearly on the wall, Facebook needs to make money, there is no free lunch here and Facebook pages and users have definitely been taken for a ride.
This was all just the appetizer to get you worked up for the main course:
Not the government, not some anonymous hacking group, virus or terrorist network; the greatest threat to the internet as it exists today is from none other than its biggest site, Facebook!