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Facebook Suggests Users Unfollow Pages: Good Or Bad For Brands?

    July 2, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

In case you didn’t have a hard enough time reaching your Facebook followers in their News Feeds already, Facebook is apparently actively encouraging users to unfollow Pages, or at least going out of their way to remind people that they can do so.

Is this a good or bad thing for brands? Let us know what you think in the comments.

According to a report from AllFacebook (which includes a screenshot), Facebook is testing a popup message on posts by pages reminding users that they can unfollow them as if they don’t know that.

While it may be just a test, many brands will no doubt consider this yet another slap in the face from the social network giant, which has all but killed their organic reach.


Here’s an interesting take on it:


Others see it as a positive move as well.

“Having people unfollow pages they don’t like will actually increase organic reach,” commented Jason Stein on the AllFacebook report.

“Lots of people like Pages to win something or for some reason other than to get their updates so if they unfollow those Pages it just makes more room for posts from the Pages they actually want to hear from,” adds Hugh Briss.

I can’t imagine why Facebook would be showing Page posts to inactive fans in the first place. That would go against their whole strategy of showing users content they’re more likely to engage with.

Last week, for example, Facebook announced changes to how it shows users video in the News Feed. People who watch video less should see less videos in their feeds. People who tend to watch more video should see more videos.

Why would Facebook be showing posts to inactive fans if they’ve already dropped the organic reach of the posts in the first place. What little organic reach they do have should be going to the active fans, shouldn’t it?

For that matter, Facebook not showing Posts to followers in the first place would play a pretty significant role in how active the fan is. If I like a brand on Facebook, I’m not likely to engage much with it if Facebook isn’t showing me their posts to begin with, even if I may have engaged with the them otherwise.

So is Facebook encouraging active fans to unfollow pages in an effort to make it even harder for brands to reach them without paying?

Facebook’s motive with this particular test is unclear right now, and it is, after all, just a test, but it’s hard not to at least consider the possibility that the company has advertising dollars on its mind.

Facebook’s Brian Boland wrote a lengthy blog post about the decline in organic reach last month. He said organic reach is not dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money. He then proceeded to talk about how you can get more out of the News Feed when you advertise. Kind of a mixed message. Boland, by the way, is Facebook’s Vice President of Ads Product Marketing.

Facebook isn’t exactly the most trusted company in the world these days as it is.

Another interesting thing about this pop-up message is the fact that Facebook feels the need to tell people that they’re following a page whose post they see in the News Feed. That just highlights how much stuff Facebook has crammed into the News Feed from Pages you don’t even follow. There was a time when the only things you did see were from pages you followed and your friends. It made a lot of sense.

It’s entirely possible that this test will go away, and nothing more will come of it, but while there may be some out there who think encouraging fans to unfollow Pages is a good thing, my guess is that most brands won’t be too happy about it if it becomes a regular feature – especially if their fan bases start dropping off.

Marketing blogger Jennifer Slegg writes, “This change, especially if the test becomes permanent, is going to see Pages lose even more visibility within news feeds. Now, page administrators are going to have to worry that a single post that doesn’t quite hit the mark, or a single post that doesn’t gain the interest of someone who sees it in their news feed, could result in users unfollowing or unliking their Page at any time.”

Of course the real way to combat this is to provide good content so people won’t want to unfollow you anyway, even if Facebook does suggest it.

Do you think Facebook should suggest users unfollow Pages? Is this a good or bad thing for brands? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • http://www.lubedealer.com/hiebert rhiebert

    Social media is getting into too much of our heads and lives but we still have the freedom to pull the plug on any part of it. I agree with getting rid of dead wood.

  • chandldj

    FB Says – Oh no XYZ Company… you’re losing followers! Better pay us to promote your page! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • It’s Your Right

    Facebook is clearly just a temporary issue. Refuses to allow advertisement of legitimate products in certain industries. I personally would have to label Facebook as “Unpatriotic” and encourages the “divided we stand” philosophy (narrow minded people running the show), which because of that I will no longer support any of their means or methods. Maybe some third world country would be the appropriate home for them.

  • Mario Carrizales

    The reason behind this is obvious. If people stop following brands, then brands will have to spend on ads.

  • Kevin Morley

    All brands should stop paying for Facebook ads and close their accounts but not before inviting their “followers” to follow them elsewhere then get a various groups together and each group advertise the fact on TV that they are leaving Facebook and maybe where they are going.

    They would actually get more followers and customers from that

    • http://www.cannabis-spain.com Paz LeBon

      this is true, the power is truly in our hands, we just have to find a way of acting

    • devodude

      Time for the resurgence of privately owned forums. Social media on the brands own website, not on a third party site.

  • http://tekjournalismuk.com Eileen Kersey

    imho it is just one more nail in Facebook’s coffin

  • http://kiikoncepts.com MichaelaKennedy

    What kind of bozo is Jason Stein?? “Having people unfollow pages they don’t like will actually increase organic reach,” commented Jason Stein on the AllFacebook report.
    Why the heck would anyone like a page they don’t like?

  • A Nonny Moost

    Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t the point of paying someone because they enjoy the free product and want to support it? So, if Facebook says, “Pay us, because no one will see your ad for free!”, my first thought is somewhere along the lines of “Go to hell”. Why should I pay you when you’re not doing me any good for free? If you’re attempting to hold me hostage, then you can definitely go to hell. The largest brands on Facebook are the ones that don’t need them, and the smaller ones have loyal audiences that will seek them out.

  • http://www.princeadvantagesales.com Windon H Prince

    This is getting out of hand. Facebook chargers a ton of money to get likes on your companies homepage so you can built a fan base. Facebook is hurting there ownself by doing things like this. You pay to get 100 likes and then facebook tells the same people to unlike them. Good god,, Facebook is going to be it own beast that can tear it apart if a new and better platform comes along and stills there followers to a new and better place. I am already seeing this happen with twitter in their new marketing took. Look out Facebook, you can get the axe just like myspace did 3 to 4 years ago when it when down hill.,,,whp

    • http://www.devangsolanki.com/ Devang Solanki

      I am agree with you.

  • http://www.cannabis-spain.com Paz LeBon

    I tried to message my own mother today, facebook wanted 79c to do so pmsl. what a joke

  • http://www.themrsweb.com themrs

    i think its good because you can actually change your mind about something

  • A Nonny Moose

    I tried paying ONCE for “likes”. It got me a bunch of random profiles that had no apparent history, no photos, nothing at all that would suggest why they were coming to my page. They didn’t contribute to any discussions, didn’t have any “likes” or anything on any photo, and left soon after the ad campaign expired, leading me to believe that they were basically spam profiles set up specifically to “like” pages for only as long as your ad ran, so you would believe your ad payments were actually getting more likes. I didn’t even get my usual email notifications when I received the new like (another indication it was a “backdoor like”, if you will). I only noticed when the number of “likes” on my page increased, and I like to check the profiles of people that “like” my page (as much as I can see of their profile) to see where they are from, whom they may know that is already on my page (a referral), how they found my page, and what brought them to my page.

    So, if that experience is similar for others (and other discussions have led me to believe that it is), then Facebook will have to do a much better job if they want people to pay for advertising.

    I know that as a publicly traded company, they are now obligated to change the design of their site once a month, needed or not, and must encourage everyone to pay for something on the site so they can show profit to their investors, but in order for people to pay for something, you have to show them something to make them WANT to pay for it, something to ENCOURAGE people to pay. Holding pages hostage and saying (essentially), “We refuse to show your page to your subscribers (who specifically asked to see updates from your page) until you pay us money!” is not going to encourage ANYONE to spend money, because it’s not encouraging any good will on the part of Facebook, and will most likely have the OPPOSITE intended affect on the brands that are there. It’s bad enough that everyone is “supposed” to create a “personal” profile and fill it out with all of your personal information, so Facebook can sell it to their advertisers, and they deliberately limit how a page can interact with said personal profiles, and now they further encourage bad blood between the brands they so desperately want to get money from by hiding the reach of the page? It just seems so counter-intuitive.

  • http://backlinkpagerankgoogle.com/ Ricardo

    Não gostei, tenho a página do meu website http://www.codigosparablog.com após essa opção de poder descurtir, a minha página parou de receber curtidas, raramente…

  • tmaster

    Facebook is a rotten place to serve your content.
    The sooner it dies like the systems of the past the better. Its the AOL of today.

    What we need is a law like the cable tv common carrier law to prevent hosting companies from modifying or deleting legal content.