It’s no surprise that you’re struggling to keep up with 2018’s influx of Facebook updates. True to his word, Zuckerberg changed things up so that his users are no longer bombarded by advertising and instead, have more exposure to meaningful posts by family and friends.
The changes have left businesses and marketers annoyed and confused.
What does it mean for you?
How can you continue to get the most out of your social media marketing, if you can’t even keep up with the updates?
Following the latest Facebook news and privacy scandals, the platform is tightening up its data protection policies and implementing measures that stop marketers from gaining access to third party demographic data.
Because of the substantial amount of user data that was collected during the breach, Facebook is carrying out a full audit of 3rd party apps that access the system, to ensure they’re not misusing data according to the latest policy updates.
Stick with us for an in-depth look into what’s changing on Facebook in 2018.
#1: New Privacy Protections Apply to EVERYONE
When Facebook found itself in the midst of the 2018 data scandal, its main priority was to assure its users that their information was safe.
Privacy protections are being extended to everyone, regardless of where you live.
The actions Facebook will be taking (and you’ll be seeing) include:
- Giving users an opt-out option for the use of their data. They can choose to opt out of targeting, such as partner categories, and choose to keep their personal information, such as political affiliation, undisclosed.
- Users can now choose to turn off facial recognition technology, so Facebook can no longer automatically tag them in friends’ photos
- Limited displays of ads based on a user’s age, as special protection for teenagers
#2: Rewards for Users that Report Data Abuse
Facebook has eyes and ears everywhere. It’s now offering rewards to people that report policy violations from other Facebook users.
The “Data Abuse Bounty” is particularly targeting:
- Companies that legally obtain data and then sell or misuse this
- 3rd party companies that obtain data using methods that don’t align with Facebook’s terms of service
If you see this happening and your information has a significant impact, you can be rewarded in cash. This movement cements Facebook’s commitment to building trust. By scooping out the scammers and sneaky advertisers that are trying to go under the radar, the platform can increase trust and therefore effectiveness in any ads they show.
#3: Data Restriction on Apps
One of the top Facebook updates – and one of the first to be revealed – was that around apps. Often, users don’t realise how their data is being used when they interact with apps, so Facebook wanted to begin restricting access to the data they allow apps to have.
Within the changes:
- Apps were stopped from viewing guest lists of Facebook events, to prevent them from gathering info about the types of events a user attends or hosts
- 3rd party apps would need to gain approval from both Facebook and a group admin before they could access the members list of any group
- Apps were unable to read posts or comments on a Page before gaining Facebook’s approval to access that Page’s API
- Whenever an app wants information, such as likes, photos or groups, they have to get that request approved by Facebook. Apps can no longer get access to more personal information such as political affiliation and religious views
- It is no longer possible to search for a person by typing an email address or phone number into the platform’s search bar
- Marketers can no longer target through partner categories
- Users can get quicker access to review the apps that access their information. If there are any they don’t want there, they can quickly delete these
Apps that rely on Facebook user data might struggle to adapt to the new restrictions.
#4: Making Ads more Transparent
Advertisers will no longer be permitted to run political ads unless they have confirmed their location and identity with Facebook and gained authorisation.
This is a movement that is being refined over time as Facebook gains more information about key issues from third parties.
They are currently testing a feature that gives users access to all ads being run by a business, as a way to increase transparency. The feature is being tested in Canada and so far hasn’t had a major impact on users or advertisers.
#5: Making Pages more Transparent
Pages that are lucky enough to have a substantial following will now have to be verified by Facebook. This movement was set up to stop fake accounts gaining control of large pages.
It should both protect user identity and prevent people from interfering in political elections. Though, the feature will apply to all large pages, even ones that don’t claim to be politics-related.
Any page admins that don’t pass the verification process will be banned from posting.
Building trust with users this way should encourage them to feel more confident when interacting with Pages in the future. There will be less people posing as companies, otherwise known as “Brand Jacking”.
#6: More Accessible Privacy Tools
Users had previously struggled to locate Facebook’s privacy settings within the interface. Whether or not this was intentional, we’re not sure. However, users complained, and Facebook listened.
They created a Privacy Shortcuts menu that made it easier for users to find their privacy settings and adjust them as needed. The platform included clearer explanations about each of the privacy settings; what they mean and how they work.
You can find access to your privacy settings on desktop by clicking on the “?” icon in the top right-hand corner. Then, go to “Privacy Checkup” or “Privacy Shortcuts”.
The newer, easier-to-find settings, allow you to:
- Manage your audience and who gets to see your personal information
- Add an extra security step to access your account
- Review your previous posts and delete the ones you want to remove
- Manage the information Facebook can use to show you ads
For advertisers, this means that they can now only show Facebook ads to the users that actually want to see their content. Which is actually a good thing. It tightens up your targeting and stops you wasting money on users that don’t want to know about your brand.
#7: No More Partner Categories
Partner Categories is something that some Facebook marketers held close to their hearts. It allowed them to make use of the user info obtained by 3rd party data companies for their Facebook advertising.
That’s no more. Advertisers will now have to use Facebook’s targeting using legally-obtained information. They can do this with interest targeting, custom targeting or behaviour targeting.
Luckily, this wasn’t a widely-used feature, so it won’t affect too many of us. You can get more accurate results through Facebook’s own targeting tools.
The platform is also stopping advertisers from seeing small audience sizes, so hyper targeting is going to be harder.
#8: Stamping out Wrong Information
The internet has made it possible for anyone to post whatever they feel like online. False information can easily spread on social media channels, especially when false accounts and unreliable sources are so good at appearing credible.
Facebook began testing a feature last year that shows users more information about the publisher they’re seeing. If you’re in Australia, you probably haven’t seen this yet. It’s currently being rolled out across America and we don’t know when it’s going to reach everyone else.
The feature shows users which of their friends have already shared the article, and the type of publication. For example, if the publication creates satire content, the user knows not to take their post literally.
Stamping out clickbait and fake news is a step in the right direction for our news feeds.
Are You Ready?
Between the restricted access to 3rd party data and all those algorithm changes around the beginning of 2018, it’s more important than ever to train your pixel as much as you can.
Remember – these changes are only in place to impact your ability to reach top-of-the-funnel, cold leads. Once you have leads at your website and have a proper pixel in place, you can continue with your strategy as you were before.
Are the Top Facebook Updates Good for Marketers?
If you’ve been freaking out about the Facebook news and wondering how it will impact your social strategy – stop.
All of the changes have been made as a way to increase users’ trust in the platform and therefore, trust in your brand. As a legitimate company, you’ll be competing with less clickbait and false information across the social media site.
Not only that, but you could actually save money on advertising. While some marketers will be scared away from the platform following these updates, others can take this opportunity to take their place. As Facebook advertising works through auctioning, you might notice that ad prices fall.
Take the time to allow yourself to adjust to the changes and you’ll find that ultimately, while they were implemented to benefit the user, they’ll also benefit you as a business.