The 'New' Facebook News Feed Trolls Third Party Apps. Problem?

Change Is Upon Us

With Apple’s iPhone media event looming and Facebook’s F8 not far behind us, it’s safe to assume that as a smartphone wielding, social media person, my world is changing. And the funny thing about change, especially on the internet (Facebook in particular) is that most people hate it. Hate hate hate hate hate hate it. Especially when that change comes out of the blue.

Unlike most other Facebook updates however, these recent changes, including the “new” News Feed, the Ticker & the Timeline were all announced, albeit briefly, beforehand. As a user, I was actually excited to use Charlie White’s (Mashable) hack to enable the new timeline and to experience the smarter News Feed. However as a Community Manager, I was far less than thrilled. Because I, like others, hate change to a certain degree.

Brand Page Marketing Takes a Hit

For Community Managers who use Social Media management tools like Sprinklr, Tweetdeck or Co-Tweet, the new News Feed is bringing on many headaches.  The reason we use these tools is to make our Social updates more manageable, to get more information about who’s liking what and when they are doing it. Now, however, using these very tools is causing Facebook posts to take a significant hit in interactions. Simply put; when you share on Facebook with a third party tool, your post may not show up in your fans’ News Feeds.

Third Party Tools Don’t Come First

The blame here is not on the third party tools themselves, but the Facebook News Feed. It is a known issue on the Facebook Help Center that I’ve been following intently for about a week now. Last week, the issue read (and I’m only paraphrasing):

My page posts are not appearing in users’ timelines.

The answer suggested that you ensure that your fans have not “hidden” your updates, by asking them to go to ‘Edit Options’ and check for themselves. Despite being ridiculously difficult for a brand page with 87k fans, this wasn’t the case anyhow. My brand page posts weren’t even appearing in my own News Feed.

Now, Facebook has a link where you can report posts not appearing in the News Feed. While it’s nice to see that they’re acknowledging that the issue exists, currently there is no timetable on a fix. I don’t mean to suggest that this was done on purpose, but when so many companies rely heavily on third party tools for reporting & metrics as well as social media management, shouldn’t Facebook make their updates with them in mind? After all, isn’t one of the enduring themes from F8 the inclusion of even more third party apps?

Who knows? Maybe it’s not such a coincidence that third party apps aren’t first priority. But are they even a priority for Facebook at all?