In recent months, some Facebook page owners have noticed that their accounts are driving much less traffic to their websites than they used to. In some cases, Facebook clickthroughs are down by as much as half, despite a huge growth in likes. Even worse, some brands noticed that this drop in traffic coincided with a new Facebook feature called “promoted posts” through which brands can pay cold hard cash to push their content out to more news feeds than they would normally reach—and the brands are not happy about it.
This juxtaposition of events makes it look like Facebook is artificially driving down traffic, then holding the old level of traffic hostage in order to generate some new revenue. But Facebook insists its doing nothing of the sort; instead, the company says that its just trying to keep its users Facebook feeds from getting too crufty with promotional posts they dont want to see. In other words, Facebook claims to be on the side of users against the advertisers, even if its making money on the deal.
The social network finds itself in a delicate position: for the first time, its trying to strike a balance between helping brands to reach users, keeping users returning to their news feeds, and making money of its own as pressure produce revenue rises.