Will Facebook’s Profitability Drive Doom Spammers?

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By Jacob Maslow

Young People Phubbing (ignoring someone in order to use smart phone)

Considering the fact that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has close to a billion active users every single month, it’s no surprise that Facebook gets more than its fair share of spam. In fact, it’s a sitting target. Facebook after all has one of the highest content consumption rates among Internet companies. A Facebook user would log on and basically be sucked by all this content being shared and posted by friends, coworkers and associates.

Considering the huge amount of potential traffic flowing from Facebook to spammers due to all sorts of traffic diversion strategies, it stands to reason that this is wasted money. After all, for every engagement Facebook is not being paid for, that’s a potential profit loss. Facebook is, of course, aware of this. Judging from their recent initiatives to show fewer organic results in users’ timelines, Facebook is finally putting the pinch on page publishers.

This was a surprise to many page publishers. For the longest time, there was an informal partnership between Facebook and the companies and individuals using Facebook to publish and share content. The partnership initially was a win-win situation. Page publishers were actually sources of new traffic because these organizations and individuals were motivated to drag new people to Facebook so that they can interact with the content shared by these players. Facebook knew the value of this partnership, and this explains to a large extent why Facebook kept a hands-off policy from the huge amount of traffic fan pages generated for their creators. Well, with the recent change in policy, commercial messages from fan page administrators and creators will get fewer eyeballs.

Regardless of how Facebook justifies this; the bottom line is that it’s all about money. Facebook is under a huge amount of pressure to justify its gargantuan market valuation. It has to generate profit and to squeeze it from every conceivable part of Facebook.

Another key free traffic source that spammers and marketers have used throughout the years which Facebook severely limited is user shares. Previously, when you share content on your wall, the whole world gets to see it. How? When your friends share it, even their friends who are not your friends can see the shared content. This is a massive hole in Facebook’s security net. This is how supposedly private photos shared only with friends can leak out to the world in general. You may share it with your friends, but the moment that they share it with their friends whom you don’t know; all hell breaks loose. Why? Those people can share it with other people that you don’t know and so on and so forth. Well, Facebook has cracked down on that. Now, when you share a content, it can only be shared by friends of yours with other friends of yours. This means that your shares will no longer have as wide of a reach as before.

On the one hand, this makes a lot of sense because this means extra money for Facebook. Facebook is taking more control over its traffic. On the other hand, this severely cuts down on the viral appeal of Facebook. You have to remember that one of the reasons why advertisers pay big bucks for Facebook is its ability to spread viral content. Since content is no longer as viral on Facebook as before, this might reduce page views, which may impact advertisers’ appetite later on.

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