Last week, Facebook made a change resulted in small businesses losing the ability to create custom landing pages. Facebook later reversed their decision. Dennis Yu at Blitzlocal comment on the custom landing page change noting:
this just underscores the risk of building your business on someone else’s website. You’re at the whim of their policy changes.
This should be in loud screaming letters. Having no Plan B, no alternatives is lunacy.
Having business alternatives is like keeping backups of your data. The Facebook change may have been inadvertent this time and reversed in part, but the larger reality is that it really doesn’t matter. There was a business impact on businesses wholly dependent on FB. If the *only* way a business has to communicate to their customers is FB – then what happens when:
- Facebook decides that the business is a spammer?
- Facebook has a bug that turns off access to sites starting with the letter ‘b’ ?
- Facebook decides the account is violating the Facebook ToS?
- Facebook suffers a data corruption that drops all the business’s fans?
- Facebook enters into a court agreement requiring Facebook change the way businesses can interact with users?
Businesses dependent on Facebook need to realize :
- They have no enforceable contract with Facebook
- They have no recourse for any economic impacts of Facebook decisions or failures
- Blowback against Facebook impact their own business directly.
Right now Facebook shows little understanding of the larger issues around privacy. Read the “interaction” between Elliot Schrage VP at Facebook and the New York Times public. Elliot seems to think that Facebook’s problem is that there is just a lack of understanding. Elliot thinks that Facebook does not need to change their behavior, just explain better:
We’ve worked hard to educate our users about changes to, and innovations in, our products. Facebook users receive notices about our new products and whenever we propose a change to any policies governing the site, we have notified users and solicited feedback.
Clearly, this is not enough. We will soon ramp up our efforts to provide better guidance to those confused about how to control sharing and maintain privacy.
Facebook does not have to be malicious, to cause harm.
Facebook is indifferent. If a business is not big enough, can’t organize a massive response…..