If you’ve been anywhere near the internet recently, you’ll have seen them — the posts alleging Facebook is pushing brands’ updates down in their fans’ newsfeeds in favour of promoted posts. Facebook itself even acknowledged that brands wouldn’t be reaching as many of their fans as they used to, as its new algorithm changes began to prefer certain types of content over others.
All of this was just too much for food delivery startup Eat24, which decided it had had quite enough of the declining reach of its carefully crafted posts, and penned a humorous break up letter to Facebook in which it announced it would be shutting its page at midnight tonight. In the letter, Eat24 explains that it feels it has lost the ability to communicate with all its fans, and that Facebook has changed for the worst:
When we first met, you made us feel special. We’d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends. Now when we show you a photo of a taco wrapped with bacon, you’re all like “PROMOTE THIS POST! GET MORE FRIENDS!” instead of just liking us for who we are. That’s hella messed up.
Not to hit below the belt, but we have a lot more fun when we hang out with Twitter and Instagram. They don’t have weird algorithms, which means all of our besties get to see everything we post.
Eat24 complains that Facebook is putting its ads before its users, and adds its weight to existing concerns about the value of Facebook ads themselves. When it paid to promote its posts to more users, it got more fans from distant places like Bangladesh and Dubai — not super helpful, since it is currently a business which only operates in the US.
While Eat24 isn’t the first brand to question Facebook’s algorithm changes, it did manage to garner a response from the social media entity itself. In a post on Eat24’s page, Facebook’s director of communications, Brandon McCormick, replied in a similar style to the startup’s break up letter, casually bidding it farewell.
“The world is so much more complicated than when we first met — it has changed,” McCormick wrote. “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.”
As McCormick mentions, Facebook has been paying careful attention to what type of content garners the most engagement in the newsfeed — because it’s that content that it wants to keep showing people to keep them interested and avoid a Myspace fate. Still, brands are now having to pay for exposure they used to get for free — and if they don’t, there’s a chance that their fans just simply won’t see their posts, even if they like their page and are interested in the content.
If you want a decent slice of Facebook’s 1.23-billion users’ attention, it seems handing over the cash may be your only option.