Well … it’s been quite a week in Facebook land.
Today, Facebook properly threw its proverbial toys out of the pram by banning any news sharing on the platform. Although this is throwing a spanner in the works for news organisations (and currently the many government/sport/travel pages which also seem to have been removed), this is going to be a pivotal moment for the way we all think about Facebook.
Facebook has made billions of dollars from the words, videos and imagery of others and although taking away the route by which hundreds of thousands of people get their news is harsh, it could be the way to pave a fairer way forward. If you want the full background to how we got here, check out this BBC article.
What can you do?
• Do not panic. Do not delete content. Do not start another page.
• If you’re not a news outlet, but your page has been disabled anyway in the mayhem, you can try and lodge a request through Facebook now. We’re not sure how far that will get you as apparently, there will be an appeals process where you can request a review to have your page reinstated starting on 25 February. That’s hearsay right now though so no harm in lodging the request.
• We’re pretty sure the pages and existing content are still there and it’s highly likely once Facebook gets its ducks in a row, everything will reappear.
• If your page is unaffected, you might want to stop adding external links *just* for a few days…. Although the ban is on news sites, other links like some blogs etc are also being banned. So for now, play it safe and give the links a miss.
• If you’re running Facebook ads, they will still continue to run. Yep, even if you’re a news outlet. Money certainly talks. Some people are ditching their ads as an act of defiance against Facebook, whilst some are actually pumping *more* into their ads to ensure their messages are seen.
• Don’t panic. Utilise your other digital marketing channels to communicate with your audience: Instagram, Pinterest, Clubhouse, your email database, EDMs, Google, SEM and even the phone or post!
This week, why not use the time you would have spent posting on Facebook to think about your digital marketing strategy. Are you too reliant on one platform? Have you worked hard enough to gather your own data and community? If you don’t like Facebook’s code of conduct, do you ethically want to keep spending your money there? Could you switch some of your budget or time to another marketing method that suits your brand better? We’re not saying to do any of those things tonight, but maybe use this as a good opportunity to consider the bigger picture.