I wrote this today (July 16) and sent it to Facebook, after seeing the (lack of) hits on this site overnight:
I run a blog called Vox Political, and have a Facebook page dedicated to that site, and to promoting its articles.
Recently, readers of that page have been telling me they have not been receiving its posts. As a consequence, they have not been visiting my website and hits have dropped by three-quarters.
The reason they are not receiving it is that Facebook has imposed new algorithms that push posts from social media sites, such as mine, down the newsfeed in order to prevent readers from finding them.
Readers who say they have enabled the ‘see first’ option are telling me that Facebook is returning to default settings every day.
And Facebook is also interfering with readers’ own news feeds. Clicking on the ‘news feed’ button, on their own ‘home’ pages, shows that they have to click ‘most recent’, EVERY DAY (sometimes more than once a day), or Facebook will unilaterally change it back to ‘top stories’.
It seems to me that this is interference in UK politics. Sites like Vox Political play a vital role in providing information that the general public cannot get from the mainstream news media, and Facebook is trying to stop that information from being seen. Has Facebook been paid to do this by a third party? If not, why is Facebook doing this?
There is also the matter of lost earnings. Since I noticed the drop in traffic to my website from Facebook, the amount of revenue it takes has plummeted by two-thirds. I make only a modest amount from the site in any case, but this means that, since July 9, I estimate my losses to be around XXX UK pounds per day – XXX UK pounds in total, if we include today (July 16).
Will Facebook reimburse me for my lost earnings?
I would point out that Facebook is also losing revenue from this. My site has enjoyed high volumes of traffic in the past, with hundreds, and occasionally thousands, of shares for some posts. The people who aren’t seeing my posts now are also not seeing your adverts and you are therefore losing money. As mine cannot be the only site affected by your changes, I can only deduce that you are losing a large amount of money.
Will you please provide assurances that you will change your algorithms to ensure that social media pages like mine are not penalised and that Facebook does not interfere with readers’ news feeds?
Will you also please undertake to reimburse me for my lost earnings – and continue to do so for as long as my site continues to suffer because of this unwarranted interference by yours?
And will you please provide an explanation for this unwanted, unnecessary and damaging action by yourselves?
I know; it’s probably pointless. Facebook has a monopoly and intends to use it against small operators like Vox Political.
But if all the other social media site operators did the same, would that make a difference?
And isn’t it worth doing, simply to raise awareness of this cynical manipulation of the UK political scene?
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