Lately I have seen (and been asked about) several new and questionable messages circulating on Facebook that look something like this:

ATTENTION fans of [Facebook Page Name]

Since FB has begun to ask page administrators to pay to promote their pages, only 10% of page fans receive the updates we post here. To receive ALL of our posts, you must do the following:

1) Go to our page.

2) Hover your mouse over where it says “LIKED” and click on “Add to Interests Lists”

By doing this, you will continue to receive ALL of our posts and our page will not be “removed” by Facebook from what shows up in your feed!

Is this message true or is it a pack of lies?

The correct answer is that is partially true but mostly false. Yes you pay to publicize your posts BUT Facebook is NOT requiring Pages to pay to interact with their fans. Of course the argument could be made that your level of engagement will be increased if you do, but it is purely optional at this point.

There are a few things that seem to be contributing to this confusion:

  1. Facebook recently introduced a feature that will let INDIVIDUALS pay to highlight a Status Update. Shortly thereafter, Facebook also expanded this ability to Facebook Pages. Promoted Posts gives page owners the ability to pony up cash to to promote new status updates to their Facebook fans. Pretty clever on Facebook’s part – they use EdgeRank to minimize user engagement with fan pages, then charge page owners a fee to increase exposure to their existing user base. It looks like the price range for promoting posts is between $5.00 and $300.00. This is being rolled out, so all pages wont have access to it just yet.
  2. Facebook has recently (and disastrously so far) gone public, and they are feeling the pressure to increase revenue and become more profitable. Their primary revenue stream is advertising. If they can convince administrators that there is value in paying to promote their page, then they obviously will make more money. In light of this, Facebook could be ramping up their marketing and promotions to page admins.
  3. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm does affect what users see in their Newsfeed. Facebook (seem to think they) know better than you do what you would like to see on your Wall.  If users comment, like, or share items from a particular page, then the page is more likely to appear in their Newsfeed.  Most page admins are aware of this, and the disingenuous ones could be using the current FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to their advantage.

What most people don’t realize is that Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine what populates a user’s news feed. Just liking a page doesn’t guarantee that their updates will show up for you, even if you click the ‘Show In News Feed’ option. The actions recommended by the messages shown above are intended to raise the EdgeRank score for the page. The more you like, share or comment on a page’s content, the more likely that page’s updates are to show up in your News Feed.

One way to bypass EdgeRank is to  use custom lists.   For example you could create a list called “All” put all of your friends and pages on it. When you login to Facebook, simply click that list to get updates from everyone, and not just the friends and pages Facebook wants me to see.  If you are super organized you could create targeted lists for say family, friends, business or whatever organizational structure works best with your brand of OCD (yes that’s joke please don’t flame me in the comments).