Facebook Pulls a Quick Change on Custom Landing Tabs Policy

Lori Halley 20 May 2010 4 comments

Facebook’s developer forum was kept busy overnight by members who were wondering what happened to the custom FBML landing tabs they’d set up for their Facebook Pages. The option to choose any landing tab besides Wall and Info had suddenly disappeared – for all but the very largest Facebook Pages set up by big business. Then came word of a Facebook policy change:

Hello all,

We apologize for not messaging this earlier. Facebook recently made a change requiring that Pages be authenticated before enabling the ability to set a landing tab beyond Wall or Info. To be eligible for authentication, a Page must have greater than 10k fans or the Page admin must work with their ads account manager. If you are already working with an account representative, please contact that representative to begin the authentication process. If you do not work with an account representative, you can use this contact form to inquire about working with an account representative.

Also, for advertisers who don’t have a representative or 10k fans, and want to run ads and land users on a specific tab, you can still do so with standard Facebook ads by making their Destination URL as the URL incl. your tab.  Unfortunately, this currently will not work with "Fan"  ads.

Thanks,
Matt Trainer

Facebook Development Network Team

Effectively, the policy change meant that only “authenticated” Facebook Pages – those organizations with more than 10,000 fans (or, as one forum member learned, those who purchased Facebook advertising in the range of $10,000+) – would now be eligible to use custom landing tabs. 

Or not...

Within hours, however, the policy was reversed just as quickly and silently as it was put into place, as Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com explains:

Less than 24 hours after we first covered Facebook’s decision to limit landing tabs within Facebook Pages to “authenticated” admins, the company has appeared to revert back to the original permissions, making landing tabs available for anybody. The change was rapidly criticized by more Page administrators who use landing tabs as an easy way to convert new visitors into fans....

For Facebook to make such a significant change without any formal notice, aside from an update to the developer forum, is pretty significant. At this point Facebook appears to have gone back to the original settings... however we’ll have to wait to hear back from Facebook to confirm that this change is permanent.

As a number of the commenters on Nick’s post point out, this event – even in light of Facebook’s new commitment to improving the platform experience and policy transparency – is bound to shake confidence:  “What are they going to throw at  us next?” 

For small non profit organizations that have invested considerable time and resources into creating an effective Facebook Page to attract and interact with fans online, this issue may be seen as another reminder not to put all your social networking eggs in one basket – and to keep your homebase on a website that you control, rather than making any  third-party network the hub of your group's online outreach. 

Your thoughts?

 

Update:

(20-05-2010 / 23:00 ET)
Facebook came out with an apology  today, in the form of another post on the developer forums, a few hours later, again from Matt Trainer of the Facebook Development Network Team:

As of last night, we've removed the recently-added authentication requirement for setting custom landing tabs on Pages. The requirement was instituted as part of a Pages quality initiative, and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused to our developer and business community. We are re-investigating the situation, and will not make any further changes without first giving our community standard notice and lead-time.

So, there you have it.  Still no word on whether custom landing tabs will be taken away from smaller Facebook Pages again in future, but at least there's an assurance that there will be "standard notice and lead-time" if so.

Will last night's custom tabs debacle and/or today's apology, influence how your nonprofit might plan to use Facebook in future?

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Thursday, 20 May 2010 at 5:19 PM

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.

Comments

  • Cherita Smith said:

    Thursday, 20 May 2010 at 10:05 AM

    It seems like Facebook is on some sort of kamikaze mission of self-destruction lately. That, or blinded by greed.

    At any rate, I think this >> keep your homebase on a website that you control, rather than making any  third-party network the hub of your group's online outreach << needs to be repeated again and again. It's so important to make your own website your homebase, and think of Facebook, Twitter, etc as outposts. Yes, it's easier to keep it all on Facebook, but in the long run when Facebook dies (which it will, just like Friendster and kind of MySpace) you don't want to have to build your community all over again from scratch.

    Thanks Rebecca!

  • Kim Woodbridge said:

    Thursday, 20 May 2010 at 11:42 AM

    It was a frustrating 24 hours and I don't trust that they won't switch it back again.  Although this time they will give advance notification.

    I completely agree with keeping your website as your "homebase".  I am constantly telling clients that Facebook should enhance their site and drive people to their site - not the other way around.  It's just another way to be found.

  • Jos Myers said:

    Thursday, 20 May 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Interesting. Facebook's constant changes are driving me nuts from a personal perspective as well as a business one. Of all of the things though, what annoys me most is that my business can't "like" something. Instead of playing with the landing sites, they should work on allowing business pages to function as their own entity outside of their own page. Using my personal information to network my business is tricky.

  • Erika Athanas said:

    Friday, 21 May 2010 at 12:36 PM

    I agree, the constant changing is making me nuts!  I personally hate the fact that I can't merge my page and group.  When we started our organization we had no idea we would become a Non profit, so we started as a group.  Now that we are a real company, we thought it was necessary to also have a '"page".  Problem is we have many of the same people on both so whenever messages are sent out...some people get double the information.  I wish we could combine the group and page into one.  It is a shame.  Everyone is right though...a website is key as well as having a newsletter email service which I think is equally important.  I have been using MailChimp and find it so easy to use!  Thanks for all the great information!  I love reading your blog!

Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.