Changes to Facebook, to "Like"... or not?

Posted on Mar 31st 2010

Facebook is making a minor change to the way users interact with Product Pages. According to a recent confidential e-mail sent to several ad agencies, the popular social networking site announced they will be replacing the “Become a Fan” button with a “Like” button.  

Users currently “Like” their friends’ status updates, photo’s and links. Studies have shown that users click the “Like” button twice as much as they click the “Become a Fan” button.   

The e-mail further indicated that consumers click “Like” because, “it offers a simple, consistent way for people to connect with the things they are interested in. These lighter-weight actions mean people will make more connections across the site, including with your branded Facebook Pages. We believe this will result in brands gaining more connections to pages since our research has shown that some users would be more comfortable with the term ‘Like’. The goal is to get the most user connections so that you can have ongoing conversations in the news feeds of as many users as possible.” 

Facebook is so personalised that any information shown to a user is something they have already decided they want to see. This information is shown via friending people, becoming fans or commenting on other functions.  

With the new modifications being made Facebook is changing the definition of “Like”. It doesn’t just mean interacting with content, it now also means becoming a fan. The idea is supposed to be similar to “Liking” someone to become their friend, rather than simply requesting to become their friend.  

Facebook has not announced a definite date for the changes to become active, merely stating they are “coming soon”. The impending changes, although minor have sparked some criticism, fearing there might be some confusion with the new functions of the “Like” button.  

A main concern for advertisers is the affect this change may have on the advertising of their Facebook Pages. There is nothing from Facebook to say how other instances of “Become a Fan” will be changed, such as the wording for the “Become a Fan” button on Pages themselves. 

Facebook has addressed a few concerns in a FAQ document, such as how users will differentiate “Like" to connect to a Page, versus “Like” to show positive sentiments to an ad?” However there are still some aspects of the “Like” function that Facebook are working through.  

While the social networking world awaits the new changes, we can only wonder how Facebook account holders will react to yet again another change. Here’s hoping the “Like” button will have more success than the recent layout changes did.  

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