Facebook has a particular skill of shooting itself unnecessarily in the foot – the ongoing errors around privacy and profile page redesigns being a case in point. But when you’re the world’s biggest social network, you can get away with things. Let’s see how Community Pages stack up.
You’ve probably noticed that when you do a search in Facebook that a lot of old-style Pages and Groups still exist (I don’t know what’s going to happen to these) alongside new-style Community Pages. These are made up of content pulled in from Wikipedia and people’s comments within Facebook.
Given the problem that a lot of companies have with Wikipedia anyway and its arguably inherent anti-corporate bias, this is going to cause a reputation management headache for companies as Facebook users are going to be even more exposed to this information. For a while I’ve thought that Wikipedia should be on social media planners’ radars – now it’s a must.
It also looks pretty hard for companies to get involved with as there’s no actual place for them to respond by way of a message board or Wall. They could by DM, but how would Facebook feel about that? Most of the decent forums don’t really like companies sending direct messages to their members, so I’m not sure Facebook would either. So, overall, if you’re getting dissed in cyberspace, you’ve got even more problems than before.
The confusion is extended to users as it’s unclear what the benefit is to joining a community and whether they should carry on with contributing to Pages and Groups. To compound matters they’re invited to sign up to “help” with the page, but it’s unclear what that’ll actually mean.
As William Beutler has highlighted on allfacebook.com, the problem also extends to individuals who inadvertently do or say things they might not want to be public, citing the examples of putting searches like “being hungover” and “farting” in and seeing global posts from users giving away embarrassing things about themselves.
If you read Facebook’s blog entry, it all sounds very reasonable, but I bet that’s what Google thought before Buzz came out. At the time of writing, 2,707 people “Like” the Community Pages blog, but 2,907 left comments, and scanning down, most of them are negative. It’s a good job for Facebook that there isn’t a “Don’t Like” button.