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Ending the Free Ride: Facebook Is Throttling Nonprofits and Activists

B. Traven - ValleyWag
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May 5, 2014





So far coverage of Facebook's plan to squeeze the organic reach of Pages has focused on its impact on "brands" that spam us with ads and promotions. But nonprofits, activists, and advocacy groups with much fewer resources (and no ad budgets) are also being hugely affected. It's starting to look like Facebook is willing to strangle public discourse on the platform in an attempt to wring out a few extra dollars for its new shareholders.

Put simply, "organic reach" is the number of people who potentially could see any given Facebook post in their newsfeed. Long gone are the days when Facebook would simply show you everything that happened in your network in strict chronological order. Instead, algorithms filter the flood of updates, posts, photos, and stories down to the few that they calculate you would be most interested in. (Many people would agree that these algorithms are not very good, which is why Facebook is putting so much effort into refining them.) This means that even if I have, say, 400 friends, only a dozen or so might actually see any given thing I post.

One way to measure your reach, then, is as the percentage of your total followers who (potentially) see each of your posts. This is the ratio that Facebook has more-or-less publicly admitted it is ramping down to a target range of 1-2% for Pages. In other words, even if an organization's Page has 10,000 followers, any given item they post might only reach 100-200 of them. In the case of my organization, that ratio is already down from an average of nearly 20% in 2012 to less than 5% today - a 75% reduction.

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