Monday, March 23, 2009

Mystery of the Missing Public Profile Page Updates Solved

When Facebook changed its Terms of Service in February, you would have thought the sky had fallen--angry rants and news reports about Facebook stealing the rights to people's data were all over the place. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg quickly rescinded the new terms and made a big to-do about how Facebook is a democracy and everyone should have a say about how their data is used, etc.

Well, everyone, that is, except for companies. On March 11, Facebook rolled out a new design--again, to much public chagrin. One feature of the new look--in fact, what seemed to be one of the main driving forces behind changes--was the fact that businesses who formerly had "Pages" would now have "Public Profiles", making it easier for them to keep in touch with their fans. News items posted on companies' profiles would show up in fans' news feeds just as any other individual's profile updates would.

Awesome news for businesses--Facebook really pushed the greatness of the new design to companies, including tips for marketing, advice for optimizing pages and more.

I am the admin for my company's page and was really psyched about the new capability to communicate with our fans via their news feeds--something the previous version of Pages couldn't do. Two weeks after the public roll out of the new look and features later, I am still waiting. I have yet to see a Public Profile update appear in my news stream--except one from the Red Cross.

Then today I see a post on Inside Facebook alluding to the fact that Facebook has automatically turned updates from some Pages off by default - presumably to keep fans' news feeds from becoming "too spammy." Huh?

Turns out Facebook added another feature during the re-design; something they're not hyping like the rest of the updates: "Hidden Friends." Facebook took it upon itself to decide which pages should be "hidden" and which were worthy of appearing in fans' news streams. Then didn't mention to fans that they had to go in and manually choose which public profiles they wanted to receive updates from.

Why all the secrecy, Facebook? What's the big deal?

Well, now you know: scroll down to the bottom of your home page and click "Hidden Friends" to manage which public profiles you want to receive updates from.

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