Facebook is parlaying its Promoted Posts advertising product, which alone drummed up significant backlash from users, and will start rolling out the ability for you to promote your friends’ posts.
Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm alone isn’t enough to figure out what type of content is truly important to you and friends. We’re all publishing too much content to the social network, flooding the News Feed, and there’s just too much for it to make sense of. This is why EdgeRank first entered the picture, and Promoted Posts eventually followed.
When Promoted Posts was first launched, Facebook admitted that many of our posts weren’t necessarily showing up in our friends’ News Feeds. This didn’t sit well with users, who were outraged at the fact that Facebook was asking them to cough up some cash so that their posts were being shown to friends that Facebook might not have shown it to in the first place. But really, it’s a nearly unsolvable problem, so there’s value in paying $7 if you really want the guarantee of people seeing your posts.
Now friends can promote your posts that they might think is worth the extra visibility. If they end up promoting your post, your status update surfaces on the News Feeds of your friends’ friends. But don’t worry about having you privacy violated. “This feature respects the privacy of the original poster – i.e. it will promote to everyone who originally saw it,” a Facebook spokesperson told us. “You can only promote posts to the people that your friend originally shared with. If you have mutual friends, they’ll see that you shared it and promoted it.”
There is a pretty glaring caveat with the way Facebook implemented this new feature: Any of your friends can promote any of your posts without your permission. I’m sure you can find a handful of friends’ posts that could be promoted as a practical joke, which would make them think twice about publishing something they shouldn’t have.
Of course it is an effective feature if you’re looking to get the word out there about a last minute apartment listing or a charity fundraiser. Otherwise, you risk the news getting buried without the nominal fee. In one test, a post did 24 times better than it would have without paying, which meant that it would have been seen by just four percent of our friends rather than the 96 percent of them that ended up seeing the update.
The ability to cross-promote is being rolled out gradually, and at first will only be available to people with fewer than 5,000 subscribers.