Category Archives: Facebook

Facebook introduces explicit sharing for apps to reduce Feed spam

Facebook has started to restrict those annoying apps that auto-post to news feeds. Now you have to specifically share those posts that you want to share. This means that there will no longer be those annoying posts from apps such as Spotify or images from Instagram that flood your news feed. Apps now need specific, explicit  permissions in order to be shared.

The News Feed algorithm has changed to allow priority of posts that have been explicitly shared. Implicit sharing was a good idea but there were few apps that were written well enough to make engaging content in users news feeds.

The number of implicitly shared stories has declined as users have marked posts implicitly made by apps as spam. Less users marked posts as spam as implicit post visibility declined.  Apps in your news feed will only appear if they have been explicitly shared by your Facebook friends.

In a blog post Facebook explained its rationale for the change:

We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action. We’ve also heard that people often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed over implicitly shared stories.

Developers now have the option to add dialog boxes to their apps such as the Message Dialog, or the Send to Mobile option.  The Message dialog embeds content from within a conversation thread on Facebook Messenger.

The Send to Mobile feature enables developers to encourage more app downloads.

The option adds the functionality for the mobile app to be installed when people log into the app website using Facebook credentials. 

If users request the app then the link to the app is sent to the mobile phone with a notification.

Clicking on the notification sends the user to the Apple App store or the Android Google Play store to download and install the app.

This is a good move by Facebook. Facebook is all too aware that users need to remain engaged with the Facebook page in order to see the advertising. If users are flooded with spammy apps implicitly sharing everything from the app, then users will turn away from engaging with Facebook. This could lead to a revenue drop – something which Facebook is determined to avoid.

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Important changes to the way Facebook shows you Pages updates

Page Admins  might have been concerned recently as their text posts have not been getting as much engagement as their posts with links, images, or Videos. Facebook has been running a variety of tests to encourage engagement and it has noticed that when it shows users text based posts in the news feed, other users post more updates themselves.

Facebook also noticed that users reacted differently to text only updates from Pages. When shown to users, users did not feel compelled to write more texts themselves. On Its blog Facebook said that “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types”.

So why is Facebook playing around with what it shows you from brands and your friends? currently to get a post guaranteed to appear in another users feed, you need to promote the post.

Facebook recommends that we share links differently.  Usually we add the link to the post update in the text -  like this:


But Facebook wants us to use the share button feature embedded in many websites. So the same link using the share button looks like this:


Both options allow me to add my own text to the share, and both options give me the same link. But there is a fundamental difference between the two.

The share button gives Facebook much more detailed analytics that it can then use to sell on to businesses that want it.  Facebook has much greater difficulty tracking the links that we embed in our posts. Our own embeds do not give Facebook such rich information that It can share with its paying customers.

Facebook says  “We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds”.

It also recommends that you use the share button to share to give the followers of your page the best possible experience.

The challenge is, if your page does not have a Facebook Share button – then there is the risk that your carefully crafter message will not be seen by your intended audience – at all…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and   or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

US State Department spent $630,000 getting you to Like its Pages

The US State Department has spent around $630,000 on two marketing campaigns to increase fans of its four English Facebook pages.

File:Facebook like thumb.png

It increased Facebook fans from about 100,000 to over 2 million for each of its English language pages. The campaigns also helped to increase interest in its foreign language pages which ranged from 68,000 to over 450,000 likes.

That works out at around 12.06 cents per ‘Like’.

The Department justified its advertising spend pointing to the ‘difficulty of finding a page on Facebook with a general search and the need to use ads to increase visibility’.

The four English language Facebook pages had over 2.5 million fans by March 2013, however interaction was low. Only two per cent engaged with each page on Facebook.

Posts had fewer than 100 comments or shares and most of the interaction was in the form of likes on a page.

The report noted that the bureau uses Facebook to advertise in 25 countries with the largest number of young users and the highest engagement rate.

The International Information Programs (IIP) justified its continued spending and blamed Facebook for it needing to do this. When fans do not interact with a page, then over time, posts from the page no longer appear in the users news feed – unless the page buys sponsored story ads to ensure that the post appears on the users feeds.

The Department said that the change ‘sharply reduced the value of having large numbers of marginally interested fans and
means that IIP must continually spend money on sponsored story ads or else its “reach” statistics will plummet.’

It commented that a posting on cyber censorship in March 2013 reached 234,000 Facebook users on its first day whereas only around 20,000 would have seen the post without it advertising. Its post on Women and the web was shown in 360,000 Facebook feeds instead of 27,000.

Many staff in the bureau have criticized the advertising campaigns as buying fans who have no interest in the topic and have not engaged further.

It has been recommended that the bureau directs its advertising to ‘specific public diplomacy goals’ and adopt a social media strategy that ‘clarifies the primary goals and public diplomacy priorities of its social media sites.’

Does it matter if the bureau is ‘Liked’?  With over 150 social media accounts that are uncoordinated and overlap, does the bureau need to focus on its core messaging and not its sponsored posts and like generation?

And is the US taxpayer prepared to spend over 12 cents for each ‘Like’ that the bureau receives in these economically straightened times?

Image Credit: Enoc.vt

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Your Facebook status is not as private as you thought it was

Do you REALLY trust all your friends on your Facebook feed?  Recently Facebook has added a share link to status updates. Here’s an update I posted earlier on Facebook.

fb shares

You can see that it is really easy to share this text only post further.  Much further than you wanted it to if you have only sent the post to a limited number of friends in the first place.

From the help text these are the levels of sharing you can do:

  • Sharing with a broad audience: Use the share menu that’s located at the top of your homepage and timeline to let others know what’s on your mind. You can update your status and share photos, videos, links and other application content. Things you share will appear as posts on your timeline, and can appear in your news feed. To control whether or not specific people have the option to view your stories, you can change the privacy settings for each piece of content you post.
  • Sharing with a small group of friends: Use the Groups feature to share content with a select group of people, like family members, your soccer team or your book club.
  • Sharing with an individual: You can use the share menu at the top of a friend’s timeline to write or share something on his or her timeline. Friends of your friend will also be able to view your post. If you’d like to share something privately, you can always send someone a private message.

But sharing status updates that were never originally meant to be shared with a broader audience seems wrong. Having the ability to control whether that status update can be shared

This means that anyone who reads your Facebook status update can share it with, not only their friends, but make the status update public. Anyone else can then share this further.

The Facebook privacy page does not mention that status updates that you originally thought were just for your Facebook friends, now can be shared with anyone outside of your friends and their friends.

So be careful what you put on Facebook.  It might be reaching a much greater audience than you ever intended it to…

Who owns your content?


You don’t own your Twitter updates, you do not own your Facebook updates. If you have a blog, then as soon as you hit publish the content belongs to WordPress. Read the terms and conditions on your own social platform. As soon as you upload the content is no longer yours.

Although these words have come out of my brain, through my fingertips, as soon as I hit publish on this blog, it belongs to WordPress, or on my Social Business blog then ZDNet owns the content.

You own the content on Facebook. However you give Facebook the following rights:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture)”.

Your content is also yours on Twitter but you:

“Grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)”.

Twitter and Facebook use the information that you have freely submitted. They analyse your behaviour, work out how they can best use this social data gold mine of information. Twitter has been selling access to your Tweets for some time now. Customers pay for this data to work out how best to market to you on social media and influence your buying decisions.

You do not even own your online profile on social media platforms either. You give information away hoping that the knowledge you have shared will enhance someone else’s day.

Just like this blog entry really…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Image Credit: Aturkus

How to secure Facebook from Graph search

imageFacebook has introduced Graph Search and some users are concerned about what information about them will be shared outside of their Facebook friends.  With Facebook Graph Search you can now search across the whole of Facebook for complex queries. You might want to find single females in Leeds that like Xbox, or photos of single men near your location.

With Graph Search, you can look up anything shared with you on Facebook, and others can find stuff you’ve shared with them, including content set to Public. That means different people will see different results.

You can find all friends who live in the same town as you – or anyone that has their settings set to ‘Public’.  you can find restaurants your friends have been to.

As we all have different friends, we all will see different search results – even when searching for the same thing. Facebook will only display results according to the privacy setting you have made on your profile.

If you have customised your privacy settings to only display your information to only your friends, then you will not show up in search results from people who are not your friends.

If you are concerned about what information you are sharing with others it is easy to change your settings.

Go to your own profile and click the about link. You will see an edit button on the right of each section. Click on this and change the settings to make sure that only people see your details – if you want them to.


Your activity log manages your overall activity on Facebook. Have a look there to see what is shared with your friends, friends of friends and Public.

There are videos showing how Privacy works with Graph Search and how to remove a tag on Facebook which walks through common settings.

Make sure that only the people you want see the information you want to share – and secure your timeline to prevent anyone seeing your private photos, or posts.

That way appearing in Graph search will be as often as you want it to be

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.