Popular Brand Leaves Facebook, Will Others Follow?

By: Chris Crum - March 31, 2014

Could we be seeing the beginning of a brand revolt against Facebook? Facebook is so huge, that it’s unlikely that it will amount to a mass exodus, but the tensions between brands and Facebook seem to be approaching a boiling point. At least one has had enough, and has left Facebook.

Would you ever consider shutting down your Facebook presence? Let us know in the comments.

We’re talking about a brand that had over 70,000 likes, so it’s not exactly a nobody. Eat24 wrote a “break-up letter” to the social network expressing the same frustrations we’re hearing every day now. Facebook is killing organic reach, and is forcing brands to pay for exposure after years of serving as an invaluable way for anyone to build a following and get messages to fans for free.

Here are a few samples from the letter:

…your algorithm is saying most of our friends don’t care about sushi porn, that they aren’t interested in hearing our deepest thoughts about pizza toppings. Are you listening to yourself? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? You know that all those people clicked ‘Like’ on our page because it’s full of provocatively posed burritos and cheese puns, right?

Truth be told, your actions make us feel like you don’t respect us….All we do is give, and all you do is take. We give you text posts, delicious food photos, coupons, restaurant recommendations… and what do you do in return? You take them and you hide them from all our friends. Maybe you steal our random musings about pork buns and claim them as your own. Guess we’ll never know.

Even if we could figure out your mysterious, all-knowing algorithm, it’s constantly changing, so what works today might not work tomorrow. Posting something that most of our friends see is like biting into a burrito and actually getting all seven layers…never gonna happen. The point is, you’re wasting our time and cock-blocking food porn from our friends. Not cool, Facebook, not cool.

But the bigger picture issue is that we can’t trust you. You lied to us and said you were a social network but you’re totally not a social network. At least not anymore. When we log in to Facebook, we want to see what Aunt Judy is doing next weekend (hopefully baking us cupcakes) and read hilarious headlines from The Onion and see pictures of a cat who got his head stuck in the couch cushions.

You get the idea. Hell, you’re probably going through something similar (unless you’re Buzzfeed or a few other white-listed sites that Facebook has deemed to be of “quality”).

Eat24 said it would delete its Facebook presence at 11:59 P.M. on Monday night. Sure enough, it’s gone. If you search for it on Facebook, it shows up in the results preview, but when you click on it, you’re simply redirected to the homepage.

Facebook’s Brandon McCormick responded to the letter by saying: “Hey Eat24, this is Brandon over at Facebook. I was bummed to read your letter. The world is so much more complicated than when we first met – it has changed. And we used to love your jokes about tacquitos and 420 but now they don’t seem so funny. There is some serious stuff happening in the world and one of my best friends just had a baby and another one just took the best photo of his homemade cupcakes and what we have come to realize is people care about those things more than sushi porn (but if we are in the mood for it, we know where to find it Eat24!). So we are sorry that we have to part this way because we think we could still be friends – really we do. But we totally respect you if you need some space.”

So, Facebook’s response to brands is basically, “Oh, you don’t like it? That sucks. See you later.” You have to wonder if that would be the case if a substantial number of brands did the same thing Eater24 is doing. I don’t expect that to actually happen, but what would Facebook do?

Facebook wants to be a newspaper, apparently. At least that’s what everyone keeps saying, and some of their recent moves have reflected that. But being a source of news for consumers is a by-product of what Facebook started out as – a social network. A way to connect people (which just happened to include brands). Now it seems to be more about trying to dictate what content it thinks people should be consuming (regardless of whether or not it comes from Pages that users have actually “liked”). To be fair, Facebook has said in the past that it’s “not a social network”.

As mentioned, Eat24 had over 70,000 Facebook likes, and over 2,000 of them liked the post about dropping Facebook. It was interesting to read the comments on that.

Christy Cannariato, for example, said, “As the administrator of a page for a nonprofit — hello, no budget for promoting posts, FB! — I applaud you and understand exactly what you’re talking about. I am a regular customer of Eat24 but never once had one of your posts come into my newsfeed….until this one. Got all your tweets, though!”

Yes, the more Facebook shuts brands out of the News Feed, the more Twitter stands to gain. Hopefully Twitter won’t follow a similar path.

Tim Skellenger wrote, ” I hope more companies join this and Facebook gets the message! Small business owners, musicians and many other entities rely on building our fan base so that we can ACTUALLY communicate with our fans. If we wanted to buy advertising we would. We already paid, we paid with all our time put into gaining followers for years and years.”

Jon Krop wrote, “I’ll keep using your service regardless of you being on Facebook or not . In fact I usually just use your App or go directly to your site when I’m hungry …probably because I rarely see your posts on my Facebook feed.”

There’s an important point there. You can’t rely on third-parties to keep your business alive. People relied on Google for years, and found out the hard way, so now some of them are trying to build Google-proof businesses. Some, however, turned to services like Facebook and Twitter to fill the void. The problem with that is (which we’re now seeing) that these services can suddenly change the game too, and you may find yourself out of luck.

If you can make it on your own, do it.

Have Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes been significantly damaging to your business? Let us know in the comments.

Image via Facebook

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Gingee

    I’m looking for something other than Facebook.

    • http://crokes.com/ Shaun

      Hey Gingee you can try crokes.com its very new. There are very few users on this social network, but whoever used it all gave positive feedbacks and also told that Crokes is better than twitter and facebook.

    • Socianeering

      You can try socianeering.com its a new social media site that cares the people and the environment. If someone sign up they plant tree. Its a way better than facebook and twitter. Try it and see the difference.

    • azimuthmarketing

      A brand new directory just launched on April 1st…called UGLII…(which stands for Unique Geographic Listing for Industry) IT IS THE first truly world wide business directory …and holds all the Patents for spatial processes……Uglii have been refining their business for several years waiting for final Patents to be granted and will be offering the ability to do advertising (not sure of the timeline)…..check it out,

      remember it is just launching ..but by the end of the year they are expecting to have over 100 million businesses registered…and in three years expect the majority of all businesses that is over 200 million businesses to be registered in the system ..With a taxonomy of over 750.000 products and services…. it’s going to change the way the world does business ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DSYpH0Wkug

      http://www.uglii.com

  • http://rumblinglankan.com/ Nishadha Silva

    Google+ pages seems a logical choice but I have seen few having good results in Tumblr as well.

  • http://www.aaidesigns.com Assael Associates

    Chris, I read your articles regularly and always come away feeling more informed and educated. But, I have a question about today’s article – what exactly do you mean when you end it with, “If you can make it on your own, do it.”? On our own – promoting our business – we need somewhere to be seen…otherwise we might as well be invisible…mais non?

    • Chris Crum

      Well, what I had in mind when I wrote that were the businesses creating their own apps that have no reliance on others. Jason Calacanis, for example, who recently launched Inside (which was discussed in the “google-proof” businesses article I linked to), has been burned by Google in the past, so he created something that doesn’t rely on Google or Facebook or anybody else. It’s still early days for that, so who knows how long it will last, but it’s a solid product, and relies on people simply to go to that app (or site). It doesn’t need people to get there via Google or Facebook.

      Obviously that’s easier said than done, which is why I said “if you can”.

      • http://www.aaidesigns.com Assael Associates

        Thanks, Chris. I think we’re in the “if you can” column for now. Your feedback is appreciated.

  • Socianeering

    Socianeering.com is the newest addition to the rooster.

  • JH

    I will leave my page up but since they are becoming like Google and taking away my freebies in organic search I will cut them off from any funds just as I did with Google…I will spend my advertising dollars with companies that understand I am a customer.

  • https://twitter.com/Vampyrian JP Vanir

    Facebook is the Walmart of the internet and the destruction of small social media (Networking). Its only good for advertising but in the end is more bad than good since its the monopoly of Corporate internet marketing…

  • pinkrose

    Yes, I’ve seriously been thinking about leaving Facebook. Not for any business purposes but for personal ones. I don’t look forward at all to opening my page anymore, it’s basically full of pictures of people (that I don’t even know or want to know, for crying outloud!), businesses, products, quotes, etc that I’m just not interested in seeing! I have alot more important things to do than that, thank you very much.

  • http://www.roycobden.com/ Roy Cobden

    Things had to change as Facebook developed from being a free, profitless exercise with no one to please but it’s users, into a real business.

    Now it has to find a balance between the need to make profits & the wants/needs of its users. And that balance has to come without pissing off it’s user population (too much). Evidently they’ve failed in Eat24’s case.

    In the end empires come & empires go… perhaps this is a sign of the peaking of Facebook.

    • Chris Crum

      The keywords being “too much.”

  • Thaddaeus

    70,000 likes? Oh boy – hope they got their email addresses before they left.

  • jonnie

    I will use facebook for free publicity ( for two businesses ) but I would never dream of paying them – I do a lot of analysis on hits – facebook in my view delivers hits but they rarely contribute to my business – unless you are selling the latest fashion item facebook is a useless marketing tool – perhaps good for brand awareness but I dont think it delivers real business.

    Not sure what the purpose of facebook is anyway – seems like a black hole in which you can waste a surprising amount of the precious hours of your life. Try talking to someone face to face and get a new experience.

    • Thaddaeus

      Actually Facebook is a great marketing tool and is very cost effective (especially for local businesses and hobbies) but you must laser target your market and take your clicks out of Facebook and into your own marketing funnel.

      Eat24 was under the false impression that they “owned” their FanPage and their fans. Hard lesson to learn but the only thing you own is what you pay for.

  • Tim

    I have never heard of Eat24, so I probably will not miss them on FB…….

    Oh no! Please do not tell me there are more social networking sites….. Even more time to waste!

    And while I am at it, why do we have to give an email address to yet another .com to post a comment?

  • George

    Facebook for brands is relatively useless. Our company paid for a post to be promoted ONCE, and that was more than enough. Our most popular item had “too many words” for Facebook, and the new “likes” were impossible to determine. Profiles that were completely empty. It seemed as if these were profiles set up BY Facebook just to have them “like” your page. They contributed nothing to the page, and nothing to the business, and in the end, the “likes” settled right back down to the original number, proving that paying Facebook is an experiment in wasting money. However, it was (in the end) a valuable experiment to see what paying to promote your page does. No one we knew of ever saw an ad from our page, and (again) none of the new “likes” did anything. Profiles that were seemingly set up the day before, with no timeline, no photos, no history, and no information. What good is that to your brand? Facebook can show you all the ads they want from brands that FACEBOOK would prefer you see (as opposed to the brands YOU want to see), but most people click “don’t show me this brand again” if it’s something they don’t care about, and they are right in doing such. Who wants to see ads from brands you didn’t ask to see?

  • Dolce Vita

    We are not putting much energy into FB. Our focus is Twitter, Instagram
    and Pinterest. Google and Facebook have become money hungry at the
    expense of small business. We cut Google off for adwords. We can’t afford clicks at over a $1.20 each for the hope someone will purchase our product. No matter how targeted the ads are. At one time we were spending all of our ad budget with them, close to 100K a year which is a lot for a very small business. Thanks to Google and their latest power plays we are looking elsewhere.

    • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

      Bing.

      We’ve been monitoring our analytics considerably over the last month, and 75% of the time our pages appear in the first page of Bing, while appearing on page 40 (or deeper) of Google. We get top ten in Google for perhaps 5% of our product pages at any one time, depending on the country, the browser, and the device used.

      Shallow pages from corporations and companies who already advertize with Google get the top positions, regardless. All smaller brands and companies are shoved back in favor of these paying corporations.

      The only problem with Bing is that you need to actively push your pages onto it, the crawling method is atrocious. We recently found that although Bing tools tells us there are hundreds of pages crawled, many of them are simply not appearing at all. You need to physically log in and add a new page to the list to ensure that it is checked.

      We’re still waiting on the results of this, but we expect to see our organic losses (thanks to Google) at least half over the next three months.

  • Holly

    GOOGLE and Facebook may not ‘own’ the internet (Al didn’t sell it to them, did he?)…but via their actions, their dominance and their continual power grabs they might as well ‘own’ it. They both (especially GOOGLE) represent the gas station. You are the cab driver. Yes, you own the cab, but they own the gas and every day the gas goes up another dime. After a period of time they pretty much take ownership of your cab by virtue of the fact you can’t operate anymore. They don’t have the title, but you might as well not have it either because you’ve been driven out of business. C-O-N-T-R-O-L

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

    If you’ve paid for advertising with FB you might have a case against it for fraud. A class action lawsuit might be in the offing in the future, thanks to the research and analysis being presented by several people which shows that FB is defrauding businesses with false information about the reach of their ads and their content.

    http://youtu.be/oVfHeWTKjag

    If you pay for ads on FB, you are an idiot. And yes, we’ve spent £20 in the past to see what happened, we were not impressed.

  • Jon Thompson

    Facebook have lost a second brand – ours. We were doing rather well with our startup business and part of our grand plan was to include Facebook. Not any more. At least knowing this now have saved me a lot of time and trouble setting it up and adding ‘Like’ buttons all over our site. Shame that greed has to take over when businesses get this big.

  • Heather Carston

    I set up a food TV programme in NZ a few years back – a small market, but one which got 27,000 likes while I ran it (and under the conditions of FB) making it at that time, one of the three top pages of its genre in Australasia. But they kept changing things and eventually, almost everyone I knew on the page simply said they were frustrated over never being given the option to see it much anymore. While I sold the business a couple of years back, the new owners haven’t got it much past what numbers I had. I now have two other business pages, but I no longer support FB in terms of advertising because they have taken away not only the reach I originally used to have, they have ensured those who do want to see the posts, can’t. I don’t taken the pages as seriously as I did from a marketing perspective – FB have turned the concept into a mickey-mouse affair without taking into consideration the fact business people ARE busy and need to trust what options they do use in marketing to work for them. FB no longer has my trust.

  • Eddie

    It’s about time people started doing the same with Google. Businesses are far too dependant on them. The sooner the likes of Google and Facebook realise that the people providing the content should be calling the shots the better.

  • guest

    I think people who think they derailed Facebook for commercial purposes are sadly fooling themselves. FB purpose was to get all your personal information, and all your acquaintances/customers’ personal information to make a giant sociogram – the stuff social control is made of. FB did not intend to give you a leg up in business, so it’s hardly a reliable commercial venue. Relying on the kindness of strangers is risky. Any social network owner is a stranger.

    Better to liberate your imagination and develop your own private networking channels so every part of your program belongs to you.

  • Public Hiding

    I don’t use facebook and never have.
    When a “social media” platform sell your information to criminals, some of whom are human trafficers, then I regard it as a criminal platform.
    Yes the FBI does know about it.
    Their respnse when told about it, “We know what is being done, but it is a usefull tool for us to watch the American public. Every country needs scape-goats!”.
    Nice?

    As I said I don’t use them and I do just fine thank you.

  • designomx

    I am not looking for other than Facebook I am just using Facebook as RSS reader of my friends updates when I am bored but I am not interested on posting anymore on Facebook again I am bored

  • Deb

    We don’t have a huge presence on Facebook. But as I read this article, this sounded a LOT like the most recent posts about Google’s algorithm changes and that has had a negative impact on my business’ web traffic.

  • http://www.sbwebcenter.com/ Steve B

    It’s what happens when companies go public and need to please their investors. Google, Facebook, Yelp… and so on.

    Instead of going public, I wish more companies would stay true to their foundation, even if it means less profits. I can think of one: Craigslist

  • AskZeev

    [Social Perversion of Voyeurism] X [Speed of dot.com Revolution] = Severe Anomaly.
    Therapy: Go Back – Keep Privacy (except voyeurism lovers)

  • Kaveri Tarun

    yes, Chris… business owners are feeling “cheated” with this facebook trick. We spent huge time and money to add that number of followers to our pages. see just four examples of them:

    https://www.facebook.com/www.BulkSMSsoftware.net [followers: 66,133]
    https://www.facebook.com/sendgroupsms [followers: 54,178]
    https://www.facebook.com/BulkSMSSoftware.net [followers: 21,811]
    https://www.facebook.com/DRPUApps [followers: 10,589]

    we were in good faith that these followers will be our audiences on facebook but now these are just numbers and we paid to facebook just to increase number only.
    as you can see, we’ve almost stopped posting on these and many other pages too.

  • Bo Foxx

    1-2% of 1000 = 10 or 20 people. 1-2% of 5000 = 50 or 100 people!? I run social media for a rock magazine and that’s about what we get lately. About 50-100 people see the average post IF IT’S A GREAT POST. So, we’ve been “double posting” everything and now it’s less than HALF of that per post. Like 15 people of 5000 see the average post.

    In other words, Facebook has become completely useless. You’re posting to an empty room where people are guaranteed NOT to see what you post. And IT IS TRUE about the paid ADVERTISEMENTS for FB. They are a SCAM. The reach IS NOT INCREASED and more of YOUR FOLLOWERS are NOT SEEING YOUR POSTS.

    I’m already guessing that Facebook’s days are numbered. The quality of the posts are actually DECREASING since people are double, triple and quadruple posting whatever they can just to try and hit TEN PERCENT of the people who WANT TO SEE POSTS!

    I’m probably wrong though. Facebook will probably just become the next ebay/walmart monopoly. It’s all about “cost sink”. Most people have sank too much time into it to simply ditch it, even though the quality of the content is in the dumpster. It really does appear to be going full blown “MySpace” though. When it does go, it will become a ghost town in only a few months time.

  • Neil Kemp

    I shall be closing down my FB account. Messages from idiots, and women trying to date you, or people trying to get money out of you. They all ink we are as stupid as THEY are! I became a member of a new one that has a totally different approach, and I am more than happy with them. And they pay me, too.
    http://KempN.neurs.net
    I am so delighted with them that I have made it my business.

  • Neil Kemp

    Interested to see responses.

  • http://www.christopherjones.biz/ Christopher Jones

    I like your line:

    To be fair, Facebook has said in the past that it’s “not a social network”.

    I thought the reason I ignored FB was because it was social and I wasn’t. Now I suppose I need to look into FB but somehow I know that is a low priority for me.

  • http://photonicassociates.com crphipps

    I like to quote the poet Billy Collins: “I’m not much attracted to anything that involves the willing forfeiture of privacy and the foregrounding of insignificance”

  • Bofinger

    absolutely would leave facebook in a heartbeat. OOps, I already did.

  • rpitera

    Sounds like a business complaining that their free advertising isn’t working well enough and the framework on which it’s built is a bad guy for wanting to pay their bills. And the passive aggressive way they wrote their ‘breakup letter’ (hell the fact that they made a ‘breakup letter’ at all) simply makes them sound like a bitch. (Apologies for my blatant sexism but the shoe fit.)

  • http://www.swamp.com.au Yvonne Clark

    I think the latest changes will see users go to other platforms such as Pinterest as their go to source of seeing things they like. I have found it frustrating in recent months that I have ‘Liked’ a page because I want to see their posts and have received very little or nothing in my newsfeed. On checking the page I have seen many posts they have written but I haven’t seen. I am sure I am not unique in this outlook. Businesses may not shut down their Facebook page but they will invest their time in those platforms where the user can get the info they want to see. I think Facebook will be seen as a source of frustration for businesses and users alike.

  • http://powerpatch.dk Ejvind Jacobsen

    It’s often the case that when a monopoly is created, someone feels put down – and often it is true. Maybe not because Facebook wanted it that way, but simply due to circumstances. What to do about it? Try to avoid creating or making monpolies.Make smaller niches to handle all the various forms of traffic and advertising. More difficult to manage, but definetely also more interesting for consumers and brands. http://powerpatch.dk/hvad-er-lifewave/

  • Amy Adams

    I have close to 350 friends and nearly 5000 pages that I have liked (most are brands some are blogs). You would think my FB page would be crawling with different posts from all sorts of individuals! Guess what, when I log on their are a lot of times I see posts from the day before. What gives? I’ve read yesterday’s posts! I want to read today’s! But where are they? Beats me! Yes, I am this close to shutting down my FB page out of sheer frustration. They even limit how many likes you can give before they put you in temporary jail for a day, two or more! I definitely DON’T like that and have a slew a friends that feel the same way! I give FB five more years before we, the everyday Joe, gives them the boot and puts THEM in jail; PERMANENTLY!!

  • Cholo Nation

    We actually just posted the article on our fanpage to see if anyone would be able to see it. We have 5k friends on a personal account and will be posting it there as well.

  • Angie

    That response from Facebook makes me sad!

    Here is a quick example of where FB is from a page that is just as popular as Eat24 and people enjoyed interacting with. Before the FB changes we ran a contest that got 1,500 likes
    with the post served to 82,000. With the changes we ran a contest that
    we paid to boost and got 325 likes to 126,000 posts served. That seemed crazy to me, so I began to look at who liked the post and not to my surprise there were lots of likes from profiles that were girls taking selfies (nothing wrong with that) but that is not our customer and they would have no interest in our page, but because you can’t target just your fans, we were getting even worse value for our money getting likes from people that wouldn’t even be interested in us (and if I investigated further are most likely spammers, but I didn’t dive in that deep.)

    So I don’t find Facebook wanting to make money off of big brands a problem, but I do find a problem in their scammy and bad ROI advertising model. And also that we used to have so much fun with our page and people and now no one sees it and I know as a Facebook user I’d like to see the companies, non-profits pages that I liked in my newsfeed, why can’t I make that chose?

  • http://ridergreendemolition.com Demo

    I doubt many have already left and will continue. F/B for business sucks, its rude expensive and the reach is just as bogus.