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An Open Letter to Facebook; Save Our Pages.



Dear Facebook,

As I am not a snake charming politician, celebrity puppet promoted as a demi-God - in order to endorse a multinational corporation, or indeed, a multinational corporation, you are probably oblivious to my existence. By all accounts, I am little more than an inconsequential series of meaningless events, to the shareholders you work to satisfy on a weekly basis. But I am also a user of your site, and have a point to express...

In the early dawns of Facebook, you developed the innovative idea of ‘pages’. Separate to a personal profile and specific to any particular interest, the majority were created to entertain or promote personal causes; existing as non-profit sources of connection, of your close to a billion strong community. This meant anyone who chose to like one of these pages, could enjoy the wonders of their regular updates via the news feed of their personal profile; 80’s nostalgia, DIY tips, Arsenal rumours - whatever suited their palate. As is standard, a handful of major businesses - who generally latch on to successful ideas they never implemented, and realising the commercial value of such direct mass-promotion, wanted a slice of the action; even though nobody needs to read about Starbucks or KFC on the internet, in order to become aware of their existence.

Due to these legal pirates hijacking a potent source of social connection, you have recently made changes to how pages operate - in terms of organic promotion. In a bid to force pages to pay for advertising on Facebook, you have withdrawn a vast amount of posts from reaching their fans news feeds; who like pages in order to receive updates - telling them the only way to retain their original level of exposure, is through paying for the 'right' to do so. In the meantime, these updates have been carefully replaced with soulless corporate advertising; who exist on your website to do nothing more than become wealthier, and are the only ones able to afford the high-rate fees you charge - leaving everyone else, for want of a better word, fucked by yet another money driven system of hierarchy.

"More of these, please"
One of these pages is run by a friend of mine, and was created purely to promote awareness to the plight of disabled animals; as well as exposing the horrors of puppy mills. The page receives zero profit, and shares countless stories which - like many Facebook pages, remind us daily how amazing the collective human species truly are, when it comes to saving and nurturing the innocent. Due to your changes, her page - with updates available to every member, has been strangled to the point it now reaches around 20% of the orignial amount; from 85,000 to 15,000. And the only way she can retain the reach of these organic readers, is by paying for advertising from you. Even though she is by no means a business, you treat her as one, and her readers, consumers; commercializing charity in the process. Not only are you harming those who offer their blood, sweat and soul into uniting humanity, you also screw every last person who chose to like her page. These people are the core of Facebook - and respect it in a dignified manner, cynical advertisers couldn't even begin to comprehend. 

As advertising replaces all the stories and fun aspects of your website, now – under the banner of ‘quality control’, instead of viewing amazing moments of life captured in video or image form, or stories of life saving souls, and any of the other countless pages designed to reconnect a world already separated by capitalism and propaganda, I am forced to view adverts of crappy overpriced headphones I don’t need, mobile phones with little more appeal than a glossy new colour, or junk-food which will eventually lead to a million heart attacks of my generation. I understand you wish to rid your site of spam and viral garbage, but tell me Facebook, how in the world can you justify suffocating good causes to make rich bastards even richer, as both a solution, and ‘quality control?

So feel free to continue wringing the necks of the little guy; then justify it with clever political spin-doctoring. But remember, in doing so, you are pushing away your biggest promoters - and they deserve better. Facebook, you are a wonderful invention of the modern age. Don't become like every other game-changer before you; corrupted by the perceptions of power and dollar signs, and leaving yourself destined to achieve little more than separate a world, you have the power to connect on a level no avenue of history even comes close to. Maybe you should give this some thought, before you strangle another Facebook page. 

Nothing in this world is remembered, purely for making money...

Lee Gunnell.

8 comments:

Linda Roberts said...

You are so right,if it continues Facebook will lose.

Linda Roberts said...

You are so right,if it continues Facebook will lose.

Loca the Pug said...

Very interesting Lee I was wondering why our reach figures had dropped by a third while our 'likes were still increasing. Facebook are constantly trying to encourage us to pay for reach but at ridiculous rates and they are really just creating the spam on peoples pages they claim to be trying to put a stop to so we wouldn't use it anyway. We have seen this coming so have started a web page and are slowly leading our friends over to that........

All very annoying and I'm not sure how to combat it. Big business is hard to beat

Mal

Nancy McKnight said...

I would like to share your letter to my FB friends. Could you provide me with permission to do so?
Thank you

Anonymous said...

When the Web first started it was going to be this wonderful thing that was free to all. Year by year we have seen it become more and more commercial. They always say it's to give us more/better features but I think we all know that's not true. Keep up the good fight and maybe someone will put up a real competitor to FB.

Anonymous said...

Facebook should learn a good lesson from Classmates.com. Once they started charging for their site, their membership took a nosedive as people went to Facebook. We can just as easily leave Facebook for the next newest thing.

Anonymous said...

I have almost a 100 friends that are dogs, mainly greyhounds, but other breeds are in there, collies, labradoodles, oh and a very cute afeckingmazing puglet. Over the past two months, some of my houndy friends have dissapeared, and then come back with their human bean names. I also follow 3 hound rescues, and one in Spain rescuing dogs found injured homeless and do their best to raise money for the vet bills. Facebook is indeed a marvellous invention, and to be without it would be awful, but it would be worse to be without my houndy friends. Do the right thing and hand back the pages to their rightful owners..

Crystal A. Goffinet said...

I strongly agree!