Sunday, September 18, 2011

Facebook Pages: Only Administrator status updates go to fans

There are many books and web pages that try to explain how Facebook works.

Alas, even the most topical material gets most things wrong -- confusing messages with stream updates for example. It doesn't help that the rules change constantly [2]. Even Facebooks own, very limited, documentation is often dated. For example ...

Facebook Pages: How to manage a Facebook Page - Facebook Help Center:

... Your Page [1] can now post status messages - short text-only messages like those found on user profiles. Soon, these statuses will appear in fans’ News Feeds...

I don't know when this was last revised, but Page updates have been appearing in my News Feeds for months.

Ultimately, the only documentation on Facebook is Facebook. It's mind-boggling that this works for them. Suggests most of humanity has given up on understanding how the modern world works; which means that modern services need not be understandable.

If you want to know how something works, you have to experiment.

So I did this experiment on one of the Pages I administer. These Pages are "Liked" in my Profile.

I posted from two non-admin accounts (Emily and mine) and 1 admin account. I found.

  1. When a Person posts an update on a publicly accessible Page it is public and viewable to anyone on the net, regardless of one's FB privacy settings. This is obvious in retrospect, but I suspect most people don't know this.
  2. When a Page posts an update it goes to all subscribers.
  3. When someone you "Friend" posts an update on a Page you subscribe to you will receive a Wall (stream) update notice.

What I couldn't test is what happens when someone who is not a "Friend" of mine posts an update to Page I "Like". I suspect, in this case, I will not receive any Wall update.

So for the Pages I administer, if I want a status update to be received by all "Fans", I need to post it "as the Page" rather than using my personal account.


[1] In Facebook lingo a "Page" is something belong to an organization or celebrity or business. Individuals have "Walls". "Pages" have "Fans", regular people have "Friends".
[2] For example -- until today Facebook sharing has been symmetrical. If I "Like" someone they are notified of my shares and I'm notified of their shares. We have mutual access. Ok, I'm simplifying, the notification rules are constantly changing.

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