The Games Facebook Plays

I’m taking time away from my works-in-progress to write this public service announcement, mainly because I’m pissed as hell. I think both writers, and readers will agree with me.

I’ve suspected it for awhile, and observation has proven it, but now, it seems to have reached an all new level. I’m talking about Facebook’s practices, and though it sounds melodramatic, its greed. Here’s what I’m talking about. On PAGES, not personal profiles, but those pages that you can LIKE rather than FRIEND, Facebook likes to encourage the page owner to spend money to make sure the page’s posts are seen in their follower’s News Feeds. I’ve noticed that posts with a LINK in them get hidden from view unless I promote them and pay Facebook to show them in News Feeds, whereas status posts with no link don’t. Take a look at the two screenshots below and you will see a glaring example of this. The post where I shared the link to a blog which will lead outside of Facebook has 1 VIEW over an hour.

FB Page Post with Link



While I was there sharing the link shown above, I had also posted just a normal status update. As you can see below, the post where I just typed in a comment with no link has 168 VIEWS in the same amount of time that the post with the link received only 1 view.FB Page Post without Link

Now I understand that  FB wants to keep users on their site, and sending them to outside links doesn’t do that, but come on! 1 person vs 168 people is a huge difference. And the fact they are willing to show it to more people (see pic below) if I “Boost” the post with cold hard cash makes me feel like I should be wearing some sort of “protection” while dealing with FB, because it really feels like I’m getting screwed here, and not in a good way.

Boost FB Post

I apologize for the rant. I just wanted everyone to be aware and to understand when they see me get creative in my Page posts. Things like the below, where I try to trick FB by hiding the link in an all-text status update. Apparently it works. As you can see, this post has 119 view in 16 minutes. Amazing and infuriating all at the same time.

Tricking FB

25 responses to “The Games Facebook Plays

  1. welcome to the world of Facebook Ms. Johnson. i feel for you guys .. this industry is so fragmented .. if u ever need a share or blog post do let me know..YOUR CAT JOHNSON FOR goshers sake .. ONE HELL OF A WRITER 🙂 there i said it 🙂 good luck 🙂

  2. Pfft. And I thought I wasn’t getting views because I was posting at the wrong time of day or something. What sucks for me is my blog and twitter feed automatically post to my page, so I don’t know how those are affected.

  3. Another hint that lets you put the link in and still get page views…once you put the link in, and the image w/ link pops up? Hit he “Status” above your post. It erases the actual link box, but leaves the link in your post…you still get just about the same amount of views, there’s just no visual with the link post.

      • Sure thing 🙂 It was a trick taught to me by another…she also said to schedule the post for approximately 30 minutes later, but I always forget. So I have no idea if it affects my page views.

        Oh, I also discovered that if you slip the word “Boob” in your post, you get twice as many views in half the time. Facebook is a perv, apparently. 😉

  4. Wow. Okay, now I’m furious. But at least there’s a work-around that we can try. Bloody hell, that’s stupid. 😦

    • Cat, I just remembered another writer’s page used to post something they were promoting, and then posted the link in the first comment and I always saw their stuff. Maybe just put the link in the first comment and see if that derails FB’s redtape.

  5. I’ve noticed the same thing, but like Sara, I thought I was just posting at the wrong time or not performing some black magic necessary to enchant the FB gods. Nice to know it’s just the lack of cold hard cash that makes them discriminate.

  6. I wish I could say that I was shocked, but I’m not. It is very unfair and just plain frustrating. Especially for small business owners. I think authors, such as yourself and artists (like me) are not often thought of as business owners. However, we are trying to make a living and this type of things just makes it that much more difficult.

  7. Hey Cat

    I hear you!! That’s why I REFUSE to have a Facebook account!! I do understand why you need to have one though so you can iform us wonderful fans.

    But hey I can live without it and I rely on newsletters and emails instead. It works a treat!

    Don’t let FB get to you. You are an amazing talented author. You ROCK – now get back to your writing cave and keep busy.

    Love your work – every last word!!

  8. I had no idea the people I Liked had to pay anything!!! Holy hell I already get ads from companies selling food,computers,makeup etc… already in my blog. What charge anyone else?

  9. As a book review blogger I struggle with this crap everyday. I try my best to get the most views for the blog post, but like you said its all in the how you post them on Facebook. So each day I spend at least 3 hours playing with Facebook to get my post and my blog seen and its driving me nuts. But what gets me the most is those blogger that do advertise gets tons of hits, where vs most of us blogger cant afford to do the ads or we refuse to “pay” into Facebook’s game get’s nothing. It’s all nuts out there and most of us still has no clue on which is the best route to go, to get our post and blogs noticed. Great post, again there are a lot of us blogger who struggles with this crap day in and day out.

  10. Pingback: The Games Facebook Plays | J.D. Holiday

  11. Hi Cat!
    Well, im new to your writing, but I just read Educating Ansley and I fell in love! I plan to read more of your books because I believe your amazing at drawing your reader into the story and emotions of all the characters. Will there be, or is there already a sequel to Educating Ansley? Also, I don’t tweet, so is there a way to follow you?

    • Hi Joanna!
      Thanks for stopping by and I’m so glad you enjoyed “Ansley”. The plan is to one day write a sequel, probably two actually, but right now I have a few deadlines for my Samhain and my Kensington cowboys series that have to come first.

      As for following me, you can sign up to follow this blog, you should be able to see a field to do that in the sidebar, and then you will get an email when I post new blogs. Or you can join my mailing list at I try to send out one newsletter a month. I am also on Facebook and on Goodreads and on Google+