One of the most surprising things I’ve learned in taking over Disinfo has been just how badly Facebook is fucking any website that doesn’t have tons of advertising cash. Seriously, if I take pretty much anything on the site and post it on my personal FB page, it will get roughly 10 times the engagement in comments and likes as it will when it runs through the official Disinfo page. Why is this weird? I have 5,000 friends. The Disinfo site has nearly 360,000 likes. When I say 10 times the engagement, I’m not really exaggerating much. I could take some screenshots if you don’t believe me.
Does the 4/5ths of our audience we lost in the ATS year and a half even know the site’s been under different management for 5 months now? Probably not. My budget to tell people about that change was in fact zero and it’d cost a ton to fill them in on Facebook. Anyway, I only mention this because they’re currently experimenting with how to make this all worse because of course they are. (From The Guardian):
Facebook is testing a major change that would shift non-promoted posts out of its news feed, a move that could be catastrophic for publishers relying on the social network for their audience.
A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted over to a secondary feed, leaving the main feed focused entirely on original content from friends, and adverts.
The change has seen users’ engagement with Facebook pages drop precipitously, from 60% to 80% . If replicated more broadly, such a change would destroy many smaller publishers, as well as larger ones with an outsized reliance on social media referrals for visitors.
According to Filip Struhárik, a journalist at Slovakian newspaper Dennik N, the change resulted in a drop in interactions across the country’s media landscape. “Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach,” Struhárik said. “The reach of several Facebook pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days.”
Overnight, from Wednesday to Thursday, a broad cross-section of the 60 largest Facebook pages in Slovakia saw two-thirds to three-quarters of their Facebook reach disappear, according to stats from Facebook-owned analytics service CrowdTangle. For larger sites, with a number of different ways to communicate with their readers, that hasn’t had a huge effect on their bottom line, but it’s a different story for those with a reliance on social media.
Smaller sites are reporting a loss of traffic and Facebook engagement, Struhárik told the Guardian. “Its hard to say now how big it will be. Problems have also hit ‘Buzzfeed-like’ sites, which were more dependent on social traff