Oct. 9, 2012
-- After Facebook hit 1 billion users last month, it has just been announced that they are expanding the controversial “promoted posts” feature that lets users pay to get their posts more visibility in the news feed. G10 Global worry that this could change the atmosphere of Facebook from one where the most beloved content gets seen most to one where the rich can dominate the news feed.
You can now post your big news on Facebook, and pay to ensure that people will see it. The social network’s newest "promoted posts" feature, lets users pay to highlight their own posts on their friends' news feeds. It will cost £5 per post and Facebook hopes it will be used for garage sales, parties, wedding photos and other important announcements. According to CNN, “promoted posts” has already been rolled out to 20 countries and is available to people with fewer than 5,000 total friends and subscribers. G10 Global recognise that the feature could help surface important announcements and earn Facebook money.
Facebook is becoming a critical communication medium for people. If someone is trying to sell all their possessions before moving to Thailand, Promoted Posts could be a cost-effective way of making sure more friends know about the sale. Raising money for charity or looking for bone marrow donors are some other clearly positive applications. After you publish a post, a Promote button will let you pay to bump up its rank in the news feed and your message will stay near the top of your friends' and subscribers' news feeds for a longer period of time so they're more likely to see it. Un-promoted posts are typically only seen by 12-16 percent of your friends. After you Promote a post, it will be marked “Sponsored,”
and you can check to see how many more people saw it because you paid. For example, you’d see “So far your post has had 3.8x as many views because you promoted it” said Facebook software engineer Abhishek Doshi.
G10 Global believe like with anything on a sandbox service like Facebook, the success and impact of “promoted posts” will depend on how people use it. A wealthy friend could promote every post he publishes just because he has the money. In that way, the feature could distort the news feed’s meritocracy, where posts that get lots of likes and comments are shown to more people. If Facebook isn’t careful, Promoted Posts could offend and marginalize financially-
strapped users. If it makes sure to minimize overuse, though, it could give people a powerful way to identify what their most important content is: putting their money where their mouth is.