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The Problem with Facebook Pages

Since the beginning, Facebook has always had a desire for “real connections”, encouraging users to create a profile using their real name, and connect with people they already know.

The introduction of Facebook Pages in November 2007 added a whole new level to this “real connections” model and has become a great way for businesses, bands and celebrities to connect and interact with their fans. Unfortunately, it has also become a cesspool for spam, ridiculous Pages and unrelated advertising.

A quick skim through the biggest Facebook Pages shows a high number of generic Pages (such as “Pizza”, “The Beach” and “Massages”). A lot of these Pages – while against Facebook’s Terms of Use – are harmless, but there are also many that have been using (and abusing) their large fan bases to advertise tenuously related websites or products.

In May it was reported the creator of the “Kisses” Page auctioned off and sold the Page (and it’s one million+ fans) for an undisclosed sum. The winning bidder, OraBrush, has now turned it into an advertisement for stopping bad breath, the emphasis on kissing now just a memory.

Two weeks later, Facebook decided to tackle these generic Pages head-on by taking away their ability to update their statuses. Whilst it was great to see Facebook finally take some action, it was too little too late, and they’ve failed to follow through since with unscrupulous Page owners still breaking the Terms of Use.

The minor offenders simply encourage their fans to join their other Facebook Pages, but the worse offenders have completely changed their Pages from everything to do with the original topic, with only the name remaining.

We don’t expect Facebook to police every page created, but some of these Pages have fan bases in the millions. Facebook needs to spend some time cleaning out these Pages that are now exploiting the fan bases they’ve built up with unrelated advertising.

To be clear, the purpose of Pages is for advertisers to connect with Facebook users, but these Pages build up fan bases under misleading pretenses of “fun” topics before converting their content and spamming their users.

Although just a small sample of the problem, these Pages have over 3.3 millions fans between them.

Besides their flagrant abuse of the service and disregard for Facebook’s Terms of Use, it’s surprising that these Pages are still around for another reason: by allowing these Pages to operate, Facebook is taking money away from its own advertising sales. Why pay Facebook for ads, when you can create a generic Page like “cuddles” or “sleeping” that’s viral enough to advertise itself?

In our next article we will be explaining how we at FBHive think Facebook could drastically (and easily) overhaul the system for all, but while you wait, tell us: what you think Facebook should do with Pages like those above, and what could be done to improve the system for the future?

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