Why Is Facebook Taking Page Likes Away?

Social media giants. They giveth, and they taketh away. The latest casualty? Facebook page likes.  We know what you’re thinking. “But Instagram just took our likes away! When will it end?!”  

Last week, Facebook announced a bunch of changes to Facebook pages, in what it called the New Pages Experience. Facebook stated that these updates will make it “simpler for public figures and creators to build community and achieve their business objectives.” (Source).  

Why are likes going away? 

Don’t worry, unlike Instagram, post likes aren’t going to be hidden. Facebook is referring specifically to page likes here. Facebook is removing page likes in favour of page followers.  

Huh? What was the difference between likes and followers anyway? 

Until now, when someone liked your Facebook page, it meant they would be publicly displayed as a fan of your page, as well as automatically following your page, which meant they would receive your page updates in their newsfeed (subject to everyone’s good friend, the Algorithm, of course). However, page ‘likers’ could choose to unfollow your page, which meant they would still be displayed as a fan of your page, but would stop seeing your content if they chose to unfollow. Alternatively, when someone followed a page, it meant they would see updates from that page in their newsfeed, even if they hadn’t liked that particular page.  

So, what impact will this have? Facebook states that a focus on followers will help give page owners a better understanding of their audience, as everyone following their page will actually be receiving page updates (again, subject to the algorithm).  

But the one catch? People who had liked your page but had chosen to unfollow it won’t be converted into followers when the transition happens. This means that if your like count is currently higher than your number of page followers, you’ll see a drop in follower numbers when Facebook makes the switch.  

Is this a big deal? 

Probably not. Marketers have long believed in an engaged audience over a large audience, and this seems to be at least partly what Facebook is aiming for here. However, as Facebook likes are one of the longest standing metrics we’re used to seeing, some businesses might feel like their numbers going down will hurt their legitimacy. If your business is at risk of this, try encouraging your audience to make sure they follow your page so they can still get your updates when the transition happens.  

It’s also good to remember that Facebook announces changes and rolls them out, rolls them back, tweaks them, or abandons them completely. All. The. Time.  So, don’t worry too much.  

Any another changes? 

Facebook also announced a dedicated newsfeed for pages, which actually could be an interesting tool. This will mean that when interacting as a page, you will be able to scroll through the newsfeed, join conversations and engage with fans, which could help brands better connect with their audiences. Facebook will also bump comments from public figures to the top of the comments section, and also add the ability to follow pages directly from comments and recommendations posts, which could potentially mean more opportunity for discovery and audience growth for those adding to genuine value to conversations through their page.  

Amongst the other new features Facebook is also adding:  

  • Improved page management tools. 
  • Better ability to detect content that isn’t allowed on Facebook, such as hate speech, or spammy content.  
  • Easier navigation between personal profiles and pages.  
  • Updated task-based admin controls.  
  • Actionable insights and more relevant notifications.  

Facebook will roll out these changes out in the coming months, so stay tuned. We’re pretty excited to see how the new pages newsfeed looks! How do you feel about these changes? Let us know in the comments! 

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