Facebook Friend Advertising
Do you want to promote your own posts? But at the same time conscious of appearing egotistical? Facebook have offers users the ability to pay to promote their own posts since October 2011. All users have to do is pay seven dollars and Facebook staff do the rest. Welcome to the world of Facebook Friend Advertising.
On Thursday 14th February the internet social media platform announced that it was going to expand this option to friend’s posts too. Now for the same fee of seven dollars you can pay to promote your friends posts.
Facebook has promised that for the seven dollar fee, your posts will appear higher in all your friends’ newsfeeds. The Facebook friend advertising announcement was met with widespread controversy. Many critics feared that it would turn the free internet platform into a pay and display contest. Other critics commented that it may turn peoples news feeds into a “rigged game”. Fearing we would all end up paying the website, in order to gain an equal standing. There has not been enough evidence to show how the inclusion has affected the site since October. However in the coming months this may change. Now that social commerce is blooming with the many brands are making use of it. Also social pressure may encourage users to promote certain posts by friends and Facebook friend could win every time.
A spokesman for Facebook commented on the matter. “If your friend is running a marathon for charity, and has posted that information publically, you can help that friend by promoting their post.” The spokesman provided another innocent avenue in which the addition could be used. “Or if your friend is renting an apartment out, and uses Facebook to announce this information. Now you can pay to promote this information to mutual friends by using Facebook friend advertising. In doing this the post will show up higher in your mutual friends feeds and more people will notice this.”
When put so innocently, who wouldn’t help their friend raise money for charity or rent an apartment. However it is making the assumption that just because the information is more accessible it will receive a better reception. The feature may be misused to promote individuals narcissistic self interest. Either way it is too early to say. However local newspapers stand to lose here, who previously had the monopoly on local advertisements. The question is whether they will adapt to the change or not.
Facebook has announced it will make the Facebook friend advertising feature available to all users gradually. The only exception will be users who have friend lists exceeding 5000. The social media platform has not stated why this is the case. However we can only speculate this is because of the technological difficulty posed by promoting a post on 5000 individual feeds. This may only be a temporary setback and as technology continues to evolve, users with these friend lists may be able to use the feature. Another limitation on the feature is that you cannot alter the privacy settings. So if your friends have set it to friends only, then only your mutual friends will be able to see the post. The question remains however, will people be willing to pay for their friends posts to be promoted?