- Getty / Stephen Lam
- Facebook is currently testing a change that would force news publishers to pay to show posts from their Facebook Pages in the News Feed. In six countries, posts from Facebook Pages are now shown in a separate Explore tab, while the main News Feed only shows posts from friends, ads, and posts that companies operating Pages have paid to promote. Facebook said it has no current plans to roll the change out globally.
Facebook is testing a change that could have dramatic effects on media organizations and other businesses that use its network to distribute information.
The change affects posts published on Facebook Pages, profiles that are reserved for public figures, businesses, and other organizations.
In six countries, Facebook has removed all posts published on Facebook Pages from the main News Feed and moved them to a separate and less prominent “Explore” section in its app. The change leaves the main News Feed reserved for only posts from friends, ads, and individual posts that organizations operating Facebook Pages pay to promote.
“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content,” Facebook’s head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, said in a company blog post. “We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further.”
The test is currently active for people in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, according to the spokesperson, who added that the company has no current plans to roll the change out globally.
Biggest drop in organic reach we’ve ever seen. Pages have 4 times less interactions, reach fell by two-thirds https://t.co/KhAtCR0yvu
— Filip Struhárik (@filip_struharik) October 21, 2017
Most news organizations rely on Facebook as a major source of traffic for their content. Along with Google’s search engine, Facebook’s algorithms are largely responsible for helping grow the early reach of digital upstarts like BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post.
The change does not affect individual users’ ability to share news articles, videos, or other webpages with their friends. Those posts from individuals will still show up in the News Feed, even if they ultimately come from companies that maintain Facebook Pages.
Still, by sequestering posts from Pages into a separate feed, Facebook could radically lower the traffic it sends to companies that don’t pay to promote their posts in the main News Feed. In Slovakia, where the test is currently active, companies operating Pages are already “seeing dramatic drops in organic reach,” according to Struhárik.