Facebook have launched a new function that allows you to follow the status updates of others, regardless of being their friend.
This new subscription service is a part of Facebook’s on going effort to give their users more control over what they have in what is currently an already cluttered news feed.
Facebooks attempt to allow subscribing to celebrity accounts and brands sounds to me a little similar to the likes of Twitter that as long as they make their posts public then anyone can have it published to their news feed.
What does this mean for EdgeRank?
There was a lot of build up around the way that Facebook was going to choose what status updates and who’s stories were published to your own newsfeed. They developed their own algorithm to determine what information the public wants to read about from their friends.
This month they have added a section called “Headlines” which is placed rather prominently at the top of the news feed, removing the need for the recent news and top news tabs that had been on our home page for some time. This has possibly increased the importance of the EdgeRank algorithm, possibly prematurely, but it has currently been narrowed down to one or two posts at a time getting featured in this section.
What does this mean for Businesses?
Businesses have only just started getting into how to be featured within the top news sections on their fans pages. With the changes in the way that people can subscribe to potentially a lot more people, companies that have just started to penetrate on to the news feeds of many of their fans may find that once again the landscape has changed.
The recent news that Facebook are to offer $50 in free ads to small businesses was received with great positivity in an attempt to persuade small businesses to at least try to reach their customers via Facebook. But whether this free $50 hints that breaking into the news feed will be a lot harder now remains to be seen.
But with more people fighting over less room, we can see how this might indicate a struggle for businesses within the main section of the news stream.
Open to Spam?
Twitter enthusiasts are currently well versed in the problems it has had with spam bots, where not a day goes past with without being asked to “check out this neat video” or “get [insert new game or tech] for free”, and opening up your profile to subscribers and allowing comments from the public will be open to the same problems that has plagued the user experience on Twitter.
So far the changes in Facebook seem to benefit the user, but whether these changes will serve to disrupt the less than perfect algorithm they have been developing is yet to be shown. Potentially these changes can give more of an indication to the affinity of a company or even an individual but for the mean time it seems it could only possibly serve as another thorn in the side and a step backwards in creating a more relevant news feed for their users.
Andy is an SEO, Social Media and technology enthusiast and these changes only serve to excite and confuse him in his day working for a water level sensors and level measurement company. Follow him on his Twitter @AndyM23.