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Facebook to marketers: Expect drop in News Feed distribution

The company is telling Page owners to expect status updates to reach a smaller percentage of fans.


Facebook has been alerting marketers that they will likely see the organic reach of their Page posts decline over time, CNET has confirmed with the company.

The social network has been known, especially of late, to fudge with the formula that picks and chooses the content to push to members in News Feed. The company did not cite any specific changes to the News Feed algorithm that would be harmful to Pages, the equivalent of profiles for brands, but it is telling clients that their regular status updates will reach fewer people.

"Over the past few months, we have been having conversations with clients about declining organic distribution in News Feed. This is largely due to more competition driven by more sharing," a Facebook spokesperson told CNET.

The statement addresses a Wednesday report from Valleywag, which cited an anonymous source who claimed that Facebook was cutting organic reach to 1 percent or 2 percent.

"We have not given a specific reach number that Pages should expect to see because organic reach will vary by Page and by post. Like many mediums, if businesses want to make sure that people see their content, the best strategy is, and always has been, paid advertising," the spokesperson said.

To some, the warning will sound as if Facebook is fessing up to holding Page updates hostage in exchange for ransom in the form of more paid advertisements. This has been an ongoing concern for marketers who've noticed that their Facebook updates are reaching a smaller percentage of the people who have opted in to receive them. The company, which is sticking with the provided statements, would presumably counter that any alterations to News Feed are meant to be in the best interest of the Facebook user.