Beginning tomorrow (November 5, 2014) Facebook is deprecating their Recommend Bar. This was announced in a blog post in August: “After Wednesday November 5, 2014 (90 days from today), the Recommendations Bar will no longer render on any website.” The Recommendation Bar allowed people to “Like” content, get recommendations, and share what they’re reading with their friends.
In addition, Facebook is forbidding the practice of requiring likes in order to see content, use apps or get rewards. As a matter of fact, Facebook is changing their API (the bridge that allows other software to interact with Facebook) so that third-parties will not be able to tell; if a user has liked a page or not.
The policy change reads as follows:
You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.
Frankly, I think that Facebook Likes have become relatively meaningless. Businesses and organizations have artificially increased their “Likes” in the hope of bolstering their placement in rankings and legitimacy. However, as every page owner has experienced, many users who “like” a page have no engagement and indicate nothing more than that they once came to the page and clicked the “Like” button.
You can go on Fiverr and get thousands of likes for $5.
Likes and recommendations are no where near as powerful as sharing content. Sharing is a way that you can both “vote” for good content to be ranked better by search engines through social proof and also pass the content that you like to your followers. This is a true and measurable endorsement.
Facebook will continue to make changes and developers as well as marketers will continue to criticize each change. This one, however, seems to be in the right direction as content and “Shares” become more important than “Likes.”
In case you are really interested, the full Facebook change log is available here.
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