I’m still checking out the Page design changes which Facebook released last week and garnering opinions on them. I started out thinking that they were very positive, but as I’ve dug deeper, some disadvantages are starting to emerge.
So what’s new?
When you log in, you’re given a brief tour of the changes and an option to upgrade to them (which will be compulsory on March 10th – at least in the US). There are several changes, but these are the headlines:
Being the brand
As a page admin, I can now choose to log in as my brand, and interact on Facebook as that brand – instead of as my profile.
So now I can be ‘eModeration’, and in the same way that I do on our Twitter account, reach out to Pages I like and respect, and talk to them with my company hat on. The Page now has its own Newsfeed from other ‘liked’ pages.
However, a word of warning here from Angela Connor: what I regard as a great opportunity to connect with brands I admire, is another’s license to spam. As she puts it:
There is the option (edit page> featured>add featured page owners) to have selected admins’ profiles shown on the Page itself, and this may or may not be a Good Thing (would need careful consideration in my view) – but it’s nice to have the choice to be able to show who administers the Page and at times I can see the need to want to contact a Page admin in the case of inappropriate content appearing on a Wall.
And, *really* good news on the moderation front. I know that I appear to be shooting myself in the business foot here, but of course good Facebook moderation and community management aren’t just a question of deleting profanities, as our clients are fully aware. Just look at the need for spam removal, which could be even more pressing if Angela Connor’s prediction comes true. Now Facebook offers three levels of auto-moderation (none, medium or strong) and a blacklist into which you can insert any words which you wouldn’t wish to appear on your page. See Facebook’s help section and this Inside Facebook article for more details: I’d love feedback on how they perform. The obvious ‘Scunthorpe’ issues are likely to arise due to over-assiduous application of blacklisted words, and I wouldn’t recommend resting easy after switching it on: keep going back and checking yoru hidden comments and your front end published comments. However, I can think of a lot of pages which would really benefit from this API sweep: it’s a lot better than nothing. Please see my post here for some testing I did on this feature.
To find the moderated comments, go to your Spam tab, and you can reinstate them from there if you wish. Can’t find your spam tab since the redesign? Here’s where it’s hiding: Wall>admin view> hidden posts.
You can also choose whether or not you wish to be alerted when someone posts on your wall, which would obviously be useful for low traffic sites. If you *don’t* want this function (and I think most people won’t), here’s how to turn it off. Instead of going to Account Settings > Notifications > Pages (like you would think you’d do, right?), you need to do the following: Go to the page you are an Admin on. Edit Page > Your Settings. Then unclick “Send notifications to firstname.lastname@example.org when people post or comment on your page.”
Ordering and filtering posts
The order in which posts appear on the Page will now be determined by a Facebook ‘popularity’ algorithm, instead of being sorted chronologically. Admins have a choice over how they view posts, but users don’t. As the Facebook preview puts it:
Presumably, Facebook wants users to come to the most engaging content first. But they haven’t offered this an optional view: it’s the only view for users. And some, at least, are not happy about this. As Simply Tech puts it:
“The main complaint, which is already mobilizing a large number of users is the mind boggling option to sort the posts by “relevance” instead of by chronological order. Under the new upgrade, you would have no control over the order in which your posts appear. If you post something today, but Facebook decided it isn’t relevant, it would move it to the bottom of the page, and posts (some of them months old) would be on top of the page instead. How they have designed the algorithm that determines the relevance of each post is a mystery to users, since there does not seem to be any logic to the madness.
Update 11/03/11: Facebook now allows admins a choice of views: http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-expands-filters-for-page-wall-posts-2011-03
Other changes and more reading
Inside Facebook – Facebook Adds Keyword Moderation and Profanity Blocklists to Pages
Marketing Gum – What’s Happened to facebook Pages? New Upgrade Explained
SF Gate – Seven days of testing the new Facebook Page upgrades
The Next Web – 5 ways the new Facebook Pages can benefit your business
The Community Strategist – With new Facebook fan pages, rules of engagement are more relevant than ever
Simply Tech: Facebook Page Updates Under Attack By Users
FAQs from Facebook on upgraded page design
Facebook’s new pages: what they mean for marketers (eConsultancy)
Social Media Examiner 8 New Facebook Changes – What You Need to Know
Please let us know what you think of the features, including the ones we’ve not covered here, like the photo display. Do you think that the increased risk of spam will outweigh the opportunities for brand connections? On balance do you think the changes are mostly improvements? Or should Facebook have consulted more widely before implementing? What will they mean for your Page?