Facebook seems to be making users upset and/or confused again with the way it handles its news feed. A few months ago, it was actor George Takei and billionaire Mark Cuban who were upset with what they saw as changes to the Facebook algorithm that made their content less visible, and this time around it’s New York Times writer Nick Bilton, who complains that his posts haven’t been getting as many likes or shares as they used to. The assumption is that Facebook wants you to pay to get this kind of reach. Whether or not this is happening, it still sends a valuable message: You are not in control; Facebook is.
Bilton described in a piece for the Bits section of the Times how his posts used to get as many as 50 or even 100 likes and shares from Facebook users who had signed up to get his feed, using the network’s relatively new Subscribe feature. But even though the number of users who subscribe has soared, from 25,000 after the feature was launched to almost half a million now, Bilton said he gets far fewer responses to his posts—sometimes as little as 10 or 15 likes and shares. On one occasion that Bilton paid Facebook to promote his posts, however, that number increased by almost 1,000 percent.