Facebook has become the world’s largest community with almost a Billion users. It connects people from all over the world. Its where people share personal thoughts and photos. But Facebook has big problems that are being uncovered. When you have 100 friends posting updates everyday, you can see it all in the News Feed. When you have 300 friends posting 5 updates everyday, its 1500 posts. That is a lot to see in a day. So Facebook developed an algorithm called EdgeRank, that filters out content so you can see the content that matters most. While EdgeRank has worked well so far, there are many problems with it. First, it shows you more content from people you interact with. So if you like or comment on posts from a person, you will see more posts from that person. If you don’t interact with posts from certain people, they will stop showing up over time. If people don’t see content that they want to see, then they will stop coming to the site, killing their active user numbers and advertising revenue.
Second problem that they face is with advertising itself. Apparently, there are click-farms in third world countries that use Facebook accounts to like pages. This generates high ‘like’ numbers for brands and pages. But Facebook can see such accounts and block them. So these accounts start liking non-sponsored pages to make them seem like legit accounts. If they like sponsored pages in click-farms and also like a lot of non-sponsored pages, it would make it very hard for Facebook to identify and block these accounts. So this gives pages some extra likes that come from these accounts. So where is the problem again? EdgeRank limits reach of posts to followers. So if a page has followers that want to see content from that page, and fake accounts also like the page, then the fake accounts will gain some percentage of reach from the posts. If the fake accounts don’t interact with this content (which they don’t), then the content from the page will have lesser reach (even to people that genuinely like the page and want to see its content). Can Facebook allow these accounts to be ‘un-liked’ from pages? Well, that would mean that there is a massive problem with its system and they have been getting advertising revenue from fake accounts all this time. This will not sit well with share holders and Facebook’s stock price.
What is the solution to these issues? That’s the third problem. Facebook has introduced sponsored posts for personal accounts. That means individual people can pay Facebook to increase visibility of their personal posts on the network. It effectively means that every user is an advertiser. This model is wrong. Because people go to Facebook to see posts from people they want to hear from. The personal users whom Facebook charges to post, is the reason why people use Facebook. If they see their News Feed full of things they are not interested in, they will eventually stop using Facebook. This is a big challenge faced by Facebook as it scales. Facebook will have to address these problems soon in order to stay on course to expand. We will see how they cope with these problems and continue to evolve their platform.