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Facebook #Fail

When Facebook allowed page administrators to interact on Facebook as the page, I was elated. But I am increasingly finding that other changes in Facebook are making it much less appealing for advocacy and organizing.

Leaving aside recent reports indicating that only about 10% of your friends/fans get your posts in their newsfeed, a few glaring page function omissions have left me wondering what Facebook is thinking.

First, you can no longer see a list of your fans/page likes on Facebook. This makes it impossible to determine if your fan base is predominantly supporters or trolls. This omission wouldn’t be so bad if…

Second, page data from Insights doesn’t tell you much about who your fans are. It tells you sex, age and location, but nothing about political leanings or likes. So, once again, we are left knowing virtually nothing useful about our fan base.

Third, we can no longer send updates to our fans. Maybe its just to encourage us to buy ads (I am sure that must be it…), but the combination of not being able to mass update our fans AND knowing that only 10% get our posts via their newsfeed, makes the new Facebook pages much less useful for advocacy and organizing than ever.

And considering that Facebook gets a sizable chunk of ad revenue from advocacy groups, you’d think they would be concerned about this.

Apparently not.

On a personal note, I am finding additional problems with Facebook. As an advocacy organizer, I rely on my profile page to help promote policy issues I am advocating. Thus, growing my list of friends is key.

As someone who is publishing lots of advocacy content via Facebook, Twitter and blogs, I get A LOT of friend request on Facebook. Most come from people I do not know. That is perfect for me, because I am working to reach wider and new audiences.

As a result of having lots of friends on Facebook, I also get a lot of friend recommendations… some from my current friends and some from Facebook, itself. Let me make this clear, Facebook is designed to encourage you to add friends of friends. They bombard you all the time with these recommendations.

So that is what I do… I send friend requests to interesting people that Facebook and my current friends recommend to me.

In the process of doing this, some of them accept, some decline… and some complain to Facebook that they do not know me.

I am not sure if all the people who complain to Facebook this way understand that doing so triggers Facebook to suspend my ability to add friends. But it does.

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I am sure that some of the people Facebook recommends, when they get my request, look at my profile, see that I am a progressive and complain intentionally to get me in trouble…because they disagree with me.

As a result, I have twice been suspended from adding friends on Facebook.

I find this completely reprehensible of Facebook. They are actively encouraging me to friend people based on mutual connections and then punishing me for doing what they push me to do.

On top of that, Facebook offers a form in the suspension notice to make an appeal. I have submitted about 4 of these appeals… and Facebook NEVER responds.

The more I face this problem on Facebook, the more inclined I am to give up on Facebook… and to recommend no advocacy organization ever use Facebook again.

I wonder if Facebook even cares….


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Maer Roshan, author of Courtney Comes Clean: The High Life and Dark Depths of Music’s Most Controversial Icon, is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fix. Previously he was deputy of New York Magazine, editorial […]