Facebook Fact Checks The New York Times Claim Of Lower Organic Engagement
Yesterday, New York Times columnist Nick Bilton made claims that Facebook was limiting organic post visibility in favor of paid posts. Today, Facebook responded with a detailed fact check on how organic visibility works.
In some experiments, Bilton found that paid posts saw 1,000 more interaction when he paid to promote it, and was limited to next to no visibility without payment. He talked about the downfall of subscribers where he once garnered triple-digit engagement which is now down to single-digit post interactions. He also claimed that Facebook may be purposefully restraining posts that aren’t paid stating:
“It seems as if Facebook is not only promoting my links on news feeds when I pay for them, but also possibly suppressing the ones I do not pay for.”
Facebook’s response refuted both the fact that subscriber interaction was down and that small sample sized test don’t equate to overall outcomes. On the subscriber engagement front, Facebook shows that overall engagement for people with followers has actually gone up 34% this year — quite contrary to Bilton’s claims. In the News Feed data, Facebook highlighted the fact that quality and number of posts are big factors into what messaging is seen. In fact, Facebook went so far as to confirm that the News Feed Algorithm and the Advertising Algorithm don’t communicate:
“In fact, the News Feed algorithm is separate from the advertising algorithm in that we don’t replace the most engaging posts in News Feed with sponsored ones.”
Facebook ended the Fact Check with some direct inaccuracies from recent reports and confirmed that Public Figures have, in-fact, seen more visibility over the past six months:
“In the past six months, however, we have introduced changes to solve the above instance – the goal being to promote more content from public figures. These include organic units in NF such as “most shared on <publisher>,” “most shared about <topic>,” and redesigned feed stories for link shares that feature larger images and longer descriptions. Our index of partners has already seen a significant increase in traffic (35%) due to the introduction of these units.”
Noteworthy, the Fact Check wasn’t a blog post or news announcement. It’s a new, standalone page that has been added to Facebook’s “Newsroom” area for journalists.