Just when artists thought it couldn’t get any harder (re: costly) to reach their audience on social media, Facebook‘s new update is set to change the game again.
In another update to its algorithm – the one that changes more often than Tay Swift’s music direction – Facebook says it is “testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages.”
Essentially, the social giant is removing content from any Business Page from its main feed – that’s artists, brands, and even media like us.
The kicker? Artists’ posts will exist in a new feed called the “Explore Feed”, meant for discovery. It’s aptly named too, a expedition into the hidden depths of the sidebar on desktop will take you there, or if you’re on mobile, it’s in the “Explore” tab on the iOS app.
While Facebook has been testing the update in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, it’s adamant it won’t be rolling the update out globally yet.
Facebook exec Adam Mosseri, who oversees News Feed, said on Twitter:
“Most ranking changes are tested for days or weeks, but given how significant a change this is we’ll likely run it for months.”
Some publishers are already up in arms (see a few examples below), calling the move “death to small businesses“.
Living off organic Facebook reach?
You’re in for a tough time
That free party is over.
News Feed in 2018 will be for paying guests only.
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) October 21, 2017
muhamadiqbaldar: Facebook’s new Explore feed is a cesspool of the worst content on the internet pic.twitter.com/ALmt2UtmXm
— Sinan Aalam (@Aalam_Sinan) October 25, 2017
— Nikhil Sonnad (@nkl) October 24, 2017
Mosseri later released an official statement:
“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further. There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore.”
The truth is, the News Feed is in desperate need of free space. Facebook has been incrementally decreasing the number of users reachable without paid promotion for years now as it moved to a predominantly ad-funded platform.
Facebook has been evolving into a pay-to-play platform for some time, and it’s truly worrying for emerging bands with little to no budget for digital marketing.