Facebook Giving Users the Ability to Promote Friends Updates – Privacy Concerns Abound
As if there weren't enough concerns about your privacy on Facebook, the social media juggernaut is now giving your friends the opportunity to promote your posts, for a small fee, to people you may not know.
In my opinion, ever since Facebook became a publicly traded company who has to answer to shareholders, the site has gone downhill, especially for businesses who use it to promote themselves. As an administrator for the station's page, I've noticed a steady decline in the number of people who see our status updates.
We currently stand at 14,250 likes on the page. We're lucky if 1% of those people see the things we post. For example, The Rob wrote a review of a new video game called The Cave, we shared the review on Facebook and as of this writing, only 155 people have seen it.
Notice the "Promote" menu in the lower right hand corner? If we want more of the 14,250 people who voluntarily liked our page because they want to know what we have going on, we could drop $65 bucks to make it happen. But notice that even then it will still only reach roughly 10-20% of our audience.
As frustrating as this can be, I completely understand why they do it. Just like us, or any other company in the world, the goal is to make money. Companies use Facebook (for free) to promote their product which in turn generates revenue for them (at least that's the idea). Facebook just wants their cut. Basically they're saying, "if our service is making you money, we want our cut." In an effort to get that cut, they tinker with algorithms and other computer-language type things within the program's structure to limit the amount of people who see the post.
While I've seen nothing to indicate this will apply to every post an individual like you or I post on our personal pages, the idea behind it is to give your friends the opportunity to help spread the word about a charity event or fundraiser you may be a part of to their friends and family members. What the difference is between paying to promote a post and simply clicking the "Share" button is unclear.
There are some stipulations to this new feature. Only individuals with less than 5,000 friends or subscribers will have access to the feature. The cost is expected to be somewhere in the $7-10 range.
What is also unclear is whether or not this feature will be available to any post or just those promoting a charity event, trying to find an animal a home, someone looking to sell their house, or whatever.
The gripe from those concerned about privacy is that this new feature will put your name, face, and random thoughts in front of people you don't know. Facebook says the feature will only be visible to users permitted to see the original post, according to the Washington Post.