This video from Derek Muller at Veritasium expresses my frustration with Facebook.

Question: Does this frustrate you, too? What’s the alternative? Share your answer on , , or .

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63 thoughts on “The Problem with Facebook

  1. Absolutely agree! I have threatened to jump ship as I rant and rave about FB at home. Honestly, I have not seen any advantages to my business through FB, but “everyone” seems to say we need to be there in a big way. Hmmmmm…I wonder if “everyone” is on the payroll at FB? Alternatives? I’m spending more and more time at Twitter and Google+.

    • I ditched Facebook for Google Plus in 2013 and my engagement level has sky rocketed. I do concur that LinkedIn is good for click rates (so don’t ignore it) but it lacks the fluidity of Google Plus.

  2. Totally agree. Derek provides a technical explanation for what we’ve all felt–FB is becoming less useful and more intrusive. Alternatives? For now, it’s still the best way to reach one of my audiences (my congregation). I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and am blogging. The Heinz 57 approach?

    • Ironically, Facebook is mining a TON of user data from us – data that it will be able to monetize in the near and mid-term future to overcome declining engagement. I was REALLY troubled by the recent Facebook revelation that they search our “private” FB message chains to categorize and drive “relevant” advertising based on that degree of data mining.

    • But is it the best way to reach your audience? If what he’s saying is true, then only roughly 10% hears when you post, but if you were to use a newsletter you could go directly in to their inbox and they’d all hear from you. Just a thought :)

      • Rob, I’m judging by the number of likes & comments, plus the way news seems to travel on FB (within our congregation). That’s not a hard measure, but it seems to indicate that FB is still working. Our e-newsletter is less effective. Fewer people subscribe to it (than are active on FB), and the open rate is about 40%. If an item is e-newsletter only, I get a lot of “I never heard about that.”

        • Very interesting Lawrence – I know with Mailchimp you can post your newsletter content to FB, so maybe it’s worth a try so why not try both? I’m sure you have a plan – no doubt. Just thinking out loud more than anything.

  3. I left Facebook in 2012, no regrets. I still have to manage the fanpage of the company I work for but without funds for paid promotion it is like yelling to the void.

  4. This is a fantastic clarification of why current Facebook policy will eventually kill it (Nice job, Derek Muller!) The decline of reach on posts has become more and more evident in the last year. A post that would have 30% engagement 1 1/2 years ago may have less than 10% now. It is incredibly frustrating to have content reach only a tiny percentage of the people who have already “liked” the page I oversee. I have not figured out a solution yet. Once a month I will pay to sponsor a post that I know will give us a lot of traction. I work for a non-profit, so we would not pay often. But the occasional sponsored post reinvigorates our base and gets people to comment/like/share. This is not a long term solution, just one that at least keeps us in the game.

  5. I absolutely agree. I think FB should have another way to earn money. I really have a hard time filtering my friend through Facebook search. and sometime they delete my friend from my close friend list automatically. Which is so annoying for me to re click it thousand of times.

  6. What’s even more frustrating is you can use ads to add friends, paying for new page likes, but then you have to pay to actually reach them. Double whammy.

  7. I agree with Derek 100%, I have also noticed the same thing with my reach trending down, even as my “Likes” increase. Its frustrating for sure because last year, my single largest social media inbound to my blog was from Facebook. But I think that also has to do with me being on Facebook since 2005 and having a good number of friends (before I stared a fan page).

    Like I have said before, there will be a day when Facebook will be like MySpace.

    • I think you’re right Paul – FB could be alienating the exact audience they don’t want to alienate, and then a MySpace sized problem could be staring them in the face.

  8. Ugh – double-ditto bingo for me! For a year or so, Facebook had been my preferred social media embassy – it hasn’t been that since late 2012, due mainly to the reasons listed in the video and the de facto censuring/siloing. My “new” favorite online embassy is LinkedIn. It’s actionable, practical and informative – but that’s just me….

    • I keep getting those e-mails from Linkedln to finish my profile, you know I’m going to give a shot again and see how it goes! Thanks for your thoughts!

  9. I like Derek’s points about on-line video. We canceled cable and consume most video on-line, which is becoming more of a trend with our friends and family. Facebook is a good place to keep up with family and friends but I think everyone has their frustrations with it.

      • Don, here in St. Louis, we have Charter high speed internet. We don’t have download limits, so you can watch streaming, etc. If you have download limits like satellite internet, it wouldn’t be a good option now. I also see a lot of short videos on blogs or watch old movies on YouTube. We got rid of cable in July 2010. We replaced it with Netflix and Hulu Plus. It saved us about $85 a month. I watch a lot of old movies, which you can watch for free on YouTube. As the technology improves, I believe we will see more and more people switching to on-line video.

  10. I couldn’t agree more. It’s almost impossible to get any traction on a Facebook page without paying for it. Extremely frustrating for a little guy like me.

  11. Thank you for posting this. I was feeling so stupid and insicure. Everyone is pushing FB for business and I tried campaigns too. Wasted money. I thougt I was missing the point. FB is not a good place to advertise… now I’m not alone

  12. Derek, thank you for the education. I am relatively new to social media, and am just beginning to dive into YouTube and FB. I spend more time on YouTube because as you mentioned – I get to see what I want or need vs. scrolling though hundreds of posts I don’t find relevant. After watching your video, I will become even more selective and discriminating.

  13. This video rocks!! I work in social media and yet I jumped off the Facebook bandwagon in December 2013 & have never looked back! On a personal level I think it’s a breeding ground for comparison and on a business level I think it’s virtually impossible for small business to grow a community without paying some serious $ to do so. With so many other platforms available there are easier ways for people to connect & build communities without have to pay for it.

      • Personally I love Instagram. Professionally I think LinkedIn, Twitter and in some cases YouTube for small business are great options but ultimately I love my clients to be able to produce & ultimately own their content, using social media to spread the message so Blogging is a big one for me right now!

  14. I am actually quite excited about changes like these. It weeds out a large amount of the competition who post random pieces of overused content. Not to mention everyone will be busy being pissed at Facebook or going to other social media channels leaving even more room for the rest.

    To me this forces entrepreneurs and businesses to post better quality content. Create good and engaging content and it will naturally grow legs and survive and even flourish with any future Facebook updates.

    Look at Brendon Burchard’s page for example. He posts great content, people share it, his page grows. Or Jon Loomer. Or even I F$%^ Love Science.

  15. Gosh, this is SO true, and definitely my gripe. I have been using FB as my primary social media platform for years, and it seems increasingly difficult to get traction. I am certainly an ‘advertiser’ as I am spending hundreds per month to extend the reach of my posts. Gonna seriously start looking at Google+ and LinkedIna lot closer. There has to be a better way!

  16. I too have been seeing less and less of my friends post and was beginning to think it was about me but it make sense now (I hope it’s not me). Also, the comment about seeing only the people whose post I “Like” and overtime not seeing others whose post I may disagree with so I didn’t “Like” them completely fade out from my news feed — I can see that Facebook will become less relevant over time – good video, new challenge.

  17. To those suggesting LinkedIn as an alternative for a company page, do you use it the same way? Same kind of posts and updates? LinkedIn always seemed a bit stuffy and suit-ie, so daily pics of my company’s farming life didn’t seem appropriate.

  18. I don’t know. There is no real competition. Chances are, if you know or have known anyone, they very well might be accessible on FB.
    People don’t really want to have phone conversations or emails or hang out, except with a few closer local people. But they do enjoy being ‘in touch’ with a broader range of people, seeing their posts, sharing posts.
    I think FB could do many many many things people don’t like, and will still have all the people checking in and using it.
    It’s just the old deal, right? It’s their ball, their yard, and you have to play by their dumb, ever changing, beneficial to them rules.
    It just makes sense. I’m certain they keep a finger to the pulse of just how far they can push things,and will tweak things.
    And people will complain.
    But come on, now, who is deciding to spend all the energy to create another FB that really has the most people there, or a cooperative FB alternative?
    And business? Well, when I post an article that actually is of interest in terms of content and applicability to people’s lives, and ‘boost ‘ it,
    (which is contributing by the way to FB being even more irritating , because of the increased posts that don’t involve our actual interests or friends, )
    when I boost a post of mine, bingo. 600+ people often decide to look at it.
    Does that guarantee they’re going to pay for my services?
    Of course not.
    But it is localized name recognition.
    So yeah, they have the only really fun yard where most everybody plays,
    and they have the only ball.
    So far.

  19. For me, as a user, this is another reason for me to completely minimize my interactions with FB. I am now going to go write an old fashioned letter to a friend. Happy Friday, y’all!

  20. Facebook as many problems and I do hate that I miss news from friends or family because of censoring or some pages posting too much. However, I think you’re too kind to Youtube. They have many problems too, the main one at the moment being, forcing users to sign on to Google+ to be able to leave comments. The comment system is a mess and so is the featured channels and videos.

  21. I have spent a lot of time being upset with Facebook as well. I feel similar to what Derek is saying here. But what I don’t see is proposed solution to the problem. There is not a suggestion for how to fix it, I think we can all face the fact that Facebook has to make money. I think Gary V makes some really good points in #JJJRH that we do have more targeting and analysis power as marketers through FB than we ever have before. So I think the lesson is to be adaptable, don’t build on rented land or put all your eggs in one basket.

  22. WOW! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. It makes so much sense. I really love the comparison you made with YouTube, which is so true! Everyone has benefited, YouTube, YouTubers & advertisers, I mean what a great business model for ALL. I do see that I barely have reach in my fan page & i’m constantly bombarded with “increase your reach”, “pay this much to advertise”. If there business model is as such, yet they advertise themselves as free social media platform isn’t that a tad deceptive? Twitter is a free platform yet they don’t filter and they are public, although I hope they do not follow suit! Now i’m scared for Instagram, it’s a bit angering & frustrating! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  23. I’m with the others who were initially frustrated but now actually see it as a good thing. 2 thoughts.

    1) This is actually a form of multivariate testing that relies on your social graph to surface things that may actually be interesting to you and your social group, weeding out the irrelevant. (that’s the theory anyway)

    2) We’ve been living for free on Facebook’s land for a long time. It’s time to pay up if we want our content amplified. Yay for capitalism!

  24. Interesting thoughts. I think to assume everyone uses FB in the same manner is a faulty assumption. I use FB for groups and to engage with individuals with the messenger, so I don’t really see the “pay to promote posts” being a big deal. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t really effect me very much.

  25. Build a dynamic and amazing content production team that’s delivering remarkable content and you wont have to worry what Facebook is, or isn’t doing. Bottom line…great content gets traction and results. Get it baby!

  26. Yup. I figured this out a long time ago. I just see no point in paying money to make Facebook richer. I’ll just write. I’m poet, a novelist, and a songwriter. Facebook is the one percent. Most of us are the 99.

  27. I agree! Another issue is that FB lets you pay for more likes, however the quality of the likes are really poor, and offers almost no conversion value.

  28. I’ve never received much traction on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for some people. I think one of the secrets is to post information that is relative to your audience. When I post pictures of my dog, food in restaurants, and cool places I’ve been, my friends respond in droves. When I post about goal setting, I may get one or two responses. So, with my limited research in mind, I think Facebook may work for me if I blog about goal setting, while sitting outdoors in a cool restaurant, located in some cool resort, with my dog at my side and my delicious meal in front of me. The goal being to be able to enjoy my meal before my dog devours it. Simple.

  29. This is so true. I used to use a fan page to engage students. Hardly anyone received the message, assignments, etc. I rely mostly on twitter and remind101. Twitter feed is not squelched, so students just turn on notifications.

  30. I think there’s a lot this guy misunderstands, whether sincerely or willfully. He says that creators are paid for every view on YouTube, for example, but that’s not accurate. Creators can allow or disallow ads, and they can make money from ads if they have enough viewership. Facebook makes money from ad revenue also, but they supplement this by making pages (which are generally marketing or branding something, right?) pay to promote their content. He’s being disingenuous when he points out that FB ads have a low click-through but acts shocked that this isn’t their entire profit plan. Businesses are supposed to be profitable, aren’t they? It is a business model, and it’s *free to the user.*

    As far as individual users (not pages) being able to pay to promote their own posts, I believe he’s exaggerating the importance of that. You can do it, but you don’t have to. I certainly never have. Facebook’s model does show you content from both people and pages that you interact with the most. If you want to see *everything* from your friends, you can do so by changing the default sort to “Most Recent” and also by signifying friends as “close friends.”

    I get as annoyed with FB as the next person (the constant changes), but it’s mostly a good experience for me. And I’m only using it for fun, to stay in touch with friends, not business. And it’s free. :)

  31. Ironically, some people are more prone to comment with posts they disagree with, especially political posts. This makes it more likely that more posts from that person will appear on their news feed at the expense of posts from family and friends. This makes Facebook even more frustrating for some. I actually find myself debating, “is this like or comment worth seeing most posts from this person.”

  32. Terrific post! And, yes I completely agree and that’s why my strategy this year is shifting to broaden my exposure on other platforms. I’m launching a new site on 3/1 and went back and forth about whether to even bother setting up a FB page for it. In the end I decide to do it simply for SEO and because I’m an author and everybody wants your FB page URL in profiles. Even as a user I’m burned out on FB for the reason you describe about the feed – why should I have to work so hard liking and engaging in every thing that comes along just to see the content I’ve already agreed I want to follow in my feed?! Oh, and you forgot one other thing as far as most popular stuff – pets!

  33. Very interesting. Confirms a few things I suspected, and gave me some new things to think about. I have never been fond of FB but jumped on the bandwagon anyway. I really dislike FB’s control over my information and the info my friends are trying to share with me. I prefer Twitter, and I’m still thinking about deleting my FB account.

  34. I have noticed this problem recently, yet from a side of a viewer, not creator. I have noticed that throughout 2 or 3 hours that passed since my last visit on Facebook, my feed actually hasn’t changed at all. When I thought about it as a bloger, I stated that I would love to have all my audience somewhere else, like Google+ for instance, which IMO is much better but still stays unnoticed, at least in my country (Poland), where Facebook remains main social media. Facebook changed social marketing, where creativity should win, into simply the same medium, which we have known already. Medium where stronger (and richer) one prevails.

    Thanks for sharing this video Michael! I’ve already sent it to my boss.

  35. Thanks for the video. It spoke from my heart. I don’t see myself being very active on Facebook a year from now.

  36. Agree. Attempting to use a Facebook page for building a tribe has been beyond frustrating. Being a new author, I cherish each and every “like” I can get. But when FB only shows my posts to 3% of those who already “like” my page (unless I pay them), I can’t expect it to be of any use. I can see how it’s helpful if you’re already established and have fans who are willing to comment and like each and every post. But it doesn’t work for us newbies. I have learned that if people add your page to their “family/top friends” groups, then they’ll see the posts, as will some of their friends. But how many people are going to do that? Very few. I feel like I put too much time into every post to gain very little viewership and new exposure. This is the struggle with self-publishing when you’re unknown. I’m wondering if I made the right decision to go that route. Thanks so much for all of your help, Michael. I won’t give up.:-)

  37. I’ve most definitely seen a decrease in number of views of the posts I put on my business page. I’m glad you created this video, but now if I ever decide to pay for promoted posts or Facebook ads, I’m going to hear your words in my head and feel like a chump. :o)

  38. As a small business page owner fb has less and less utility to me so now am turning to other avenues to advertise and reach people

  39. Yes, yes, yes! This is why I extremely dislike Facebook. Is it even worth the time posting content if no one sees the post? And with the numbers expected to continue to go down it gives me little hope for the platform.

  40. They’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg, literally. I first learned about this from John Saddington a while back when he announced he was shutting down his FB page, and why, and I’ve been watching ever since. EVen had a note on this in one of my own recent blog posts from another source that was basically saying the same thing.

    I think the opportunity is RIPE for G+ to make some serious progress as this is becoming more and more of an issue, and it’s getting bigger and bigger voices talking about it. Foolish and poorly planned decision by FB that could come back to haunt them.

  41. THANK YOU FOR THIS VIDEO! I just experienced the first extreme decline in engagement with a Facebook post. I have some of our regulars emailing me to find out if something is wrong with our account. Since I viewed this video last week, I was able to tell them what was happening (and forward a link to the video). I will still use Facebook, but I’m with Deb Potts and TorConstantino. Facebook will receive less attention. With this latest update, the return on my investment of time is diminishing.

  42. love this! thank you for posting. I have other gripes about FB but this just tops it all off. I felt a few weeks ago (being completely new to using FB for “business) that Twitter and Pinterest actually would be better for my purposes (mom blogging). Twitter allows a lot more conversation and reaching new people very easily. I like the retweet because it’s more share and share alike. LinkedIn is fabulous if you have more of a business platform for professionalism. If I get into freelance writing, which is my goal, definitely LinkedIn would be one I’d use regularly. It far outweighs FB anyday. I completely agree, people get on FB for family and friends, perhaps being connected in your church (like for my church and as Lawrence Wilson said in another comment.

  43. Agree re Facebook. Regarding Google+ : It has strong value right now … perhaps OVERLY strong value. A casual conversation (e.g. “Monica, you’ll find my article in the edit queue”) is elevated to a top search result. Use with caution!

  44. A lot of not-quite statements in this video. First of all, if you’re on Facebook, you can simply change the settings from “Top Stories” (those that have been liked by others, as described in the video) to “Most Recent”, which will show you everything you want. This is a short, 2-click process, and now I can see all of my friends’ posts, even the ones with 0 likes, 0 comments, and 0 shares. Problem solved.

    Also, YouTube is not that great as far as monetary compensation. As a Youtube partner, you basically get a fraction of a cent on any clicks, not to your videos, but to the ADS, and that only applies to videos with absolutely NO copyright infringement. I’ve had a video flagged because for 20 seconds of a 5 minute video, there was some background music from a video game that one of the characters was playing. No money for me, even though the content was original. YouTube is NOT that generous to its content providers. In fact, it’s why there’s a large independent movement of providers trying to steer away its user base from YouTube to other, more provider friendly sites. I would love to see a source that says most of YouTube’s revenue was paid back to providers as he states in this video at 5:25.

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