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Facebook Page is Being Destroyed by Sudden Spike In Hide Post

     
9:20 pm on Jul 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I have a 800,000 follower facebook page associated with my website. The Page has been in existence since 2008. It took about 5 years to build it to 100,000 and then the next year it grew to 500,000 pretty much all due to Facebook Page Recommendations.

For the last 2 years we have been posting twice a day, a link post in the morning and an image post in the afternoon. We've made changes as the algorithm has changed but, overall we've been doing the same thing for 2 years.

Starting on June 3-4 we hit a brick wall.
Reach is down from 100k a post to 10-20k a post.
New followers are down from 6,000 a week to 1,000 a week. (we lose about a 1,000 a week on average so we're actually in the negative)
Engagement is the same, about 5% per post.

So I'm going through Insights trying to figure out what's going on and I finally notice that our Hide Page stats are way up.
There is no reason for this to happen suddenly. We haven't made any major changes to our posts style in years.

If you look at the numbers you can see almost a 4x the number of Hide Posts in June than the previous months
hide_all_clicks = Hide All Posts from this page
hide_clicks = Hide this post

hide_all_clicks hide_clicks
June - 1059 4023
May - 639 1172
April - 588 1034
March - 736 1251
Feb - 649 1091


There seem to be 2 possible conclusions.
1. Either Facebook introduced a new and easier way to click on "Hide Posts" in June,
2. Someone has maliciously targeted my page to decrease its post reach and follower growth by using the Hide Post feature to convince (very successfully) Facebook's algorithm that my posts are low quality.

So my questions are,
1. Facebook page managers/owners has anyone seen an increase in Hide Posts since June?
2. If this is indeed an attack on my page, what can I do about it? Is there any live Facebook Support.
3. Has anyone heard of this sort of attack? what would be the purpose? It's not like my pages reach is taking away reach from someone else's page. It doesn't work like that. It's not Negative SEO and this is not Google's algorithm and there's no #1 spot in the SERPS to fight over.

I was thinking I could use Facebook's open graph search to find a pattern in my new followers starting in June but it seems that it no longer exists.
I exported Facebook Insights for my page and posts and while the breadth of the data is quite amazing, I can't seem to find a clue or even know what to look for.
I wanted to use the country and city report to see if there was an increase in followers from certain countries on June 2nd, but it's just too much data.

I was thinking I can use Facebook's Target by Location for every post to avoid countries where spammers operate, but that is about 50% of my audience.
Our July 4th post would be a good post to test this out on since it's only of interest to Americans.
Also, every time I've attempted to target a post the numbers drop dramatically.
However, if these are bot users created and owned by one person, it is possible that by targeting specific countries I can hide my posts from him so that he can no longer "Hide my Posts" which would give me a chance to regain momentum with reach and followers.

Any ideas?
12:28 am on July 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Well, WebmasterWorld might not be the best place to discuss Facebook Pages.
Any suggestion for other places to get help? I'd hate to have to throw away something I've poured so much money and time into.
11:04 am on July 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There seem to be 2 possible conclusions. 



There is never a time when there are only 2 possible conclusions. One obvious possibility is that your time came and went. The web does not breed loyalty.
11:28 am on July 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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^ true. Also possible that the peak has been reached. Nothing stays the same, and after increase after increase ceases, the fight to stay there must shift to other methods.

Users do get bored. Some stick, but most move on. Find a way to bring them back.

These are generalities. If a webpage/site some things might be tried. I'm not that deep into facebook, never fully buying into that social media, but if what brought followers before is no longer working, the some other offer needs be made to get the traffic back. And, sadly, sharing any ideas in that regard in public will only help your competition, too.
5:25 pm on July 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I suppose you're both right.
It's always easier to blame the system :)

And even if something strange is going on with all the Hide Posts, if our Net Follower Count is now in the negative, now that we don't have new followers coming in for free from Facebook's Recommended pages, well that means we're doing a lousy job.
With every post we're losing more followers than we gain!

It's been difficult to notice the constant flow of unfollows because of all the noise from the new follows..
And overall we've been doing the same thing for 2 years.
Maybe that's not a good thing :)
Seems like we need to come up with something different to keep our followers interested, and then keep on coming up with different things.
12:03 am on July 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just an update. I'm still searching for answers.
In case someone reading this had noticed a Facebook Algorithm change in the beginning of June similar to what I described in my first post please chime in.
Or if you've experienced a sudden unexplainable large drop in reach at a time when no one else seemed be hit.
1:54 am on July 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Um, this is a wild, wild stretch and involves a huge assumption on my part. But since no technical explanation seems to be in the air....If your Facebook page has any association with your username here, then it could be current news events that are affecting things, especially if the change started in mid to late June.
2:32 pm on July 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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lol, no association with my fb page. But thanks for trying :-) (and I guess I'm going to have to change my username if the original "thedonald" gets elected.)
1:01 am on July 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing the same thing for 2 sites. One is 300k and one is 200k likes. I saw the start as june 4-5. I thought the same thing as you that maybe the site was getting hit until I looked at the second site and saw the same thing.

And its a spike in both hide this post and hide all posts.
2:21 pm on July 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing the same thing for 2 sites. One is 300k and one is 200k likes. I saw the start as june 4-5.

So both your pages had a spike in Hide Posts and Hide All Posts in early June.

Are you noticing any decrease in Reach and new Page Likes from Facebook Recommendations?
For me, the massive decrease in reach and new Page Likes has been like a Google Panda penalty, no explanations, no real hope.
2:54 pm on July 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes I saw an increase in hide posts and hide all posts in early june. It dramatically spiked up.

For reach its hard to tell. It might be down. My data is really noisy based on the post. But it does look down but my posts were worse since I was a little distracted.

For page likes from recommendations, I actually have that turned off. I am worried about get tons of likes from international like farms. Have you found a way to avoid that? I hate missing likes but I hear horror stories about tons of likes from india like farms that don't engage.
3:14 pm on July 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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For page likes from recommendations, I actually have that turned off. I am worried about get tons of likes from international like farms. Have you found a way to avoid that? I hate missing likes but I hear horror stories about tons of likes from india like farms that don't engage.

90% of my page likes were coming from Page Recommendations, it wasn't even an option to turn it off.
I recently did 3 of the same posts using Targeting or "Narrow Audience" by Location
One post targeted countries like India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines
One post targeted South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia
and One post targeted US
and all 3 received the same percent of engagement as well as hide posts.

You know you can turn off likes from certain countries

Under Settings --> General --> Country Restrictions
You will see these 2 options.

Only show this Page to viewers in these countries
Hide this Page from viewers in these countries


Now that I think about it using Targeting or "Narrow Audience" might be one experiment I haven't put enough effort into to try to increase engagement percentage, which is the only way I can imagine Facebook would give me back my reach and page likes.
If I target by English US and English UK then my Potential Audience drops from 800K to 600K.
Logically, avoiding people who only use English as a second language should increase the engagement percentage of total people reached.
2:02 am on Sept 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the news that others also noticed the spike on the same day. Very Interesting, and definitely please do keep this thread updated if you find out anything or actually hear back something of substance from Facebook. I'm now following both threads you posted lines to.
That's crazy scary that Facebook's algorithm would be so easily manipulated.

I had attributed it to malicious hide posts originally when I created this thread, but I now just find that so unrealistic, why would someone do that? Facebook has so many pages, there is no one Page you are ever competing against. It's not like Google Search Results where for a specific Keyword phrase there can only be one #1 and so there is a reason to do something like negative seo to take out a competitor. As far as the spike that we both saw. I think it's likely Facebook did make a change on June 3-4 and Hiding post became easier. But it's strange because I don't know what the change was, I don't see it. If you search Facebook's Help Community for Business Pages, there are plenty of people complaining of dramatic drops in reach, and so I assume I'm just one of of many.

I've almost completely given up on my Facebook Page. We've gone from being able to reach 10% of our audience per post to 1-3% for months now.
Absolutely nothing we do has any effect.
I don't think it's attributed to malicious hides, I think it's Facebook's algorithm. Why they would want to destroy my page I don't know, but I'm sure it involves money and the decision was made at a high level and they certainly don't care if it effects 1 million pages or a 1,000 pages, what's the difference, there are a million other pages ready to take our place and they post better clickbaiting posts then I do, or actually pay money.to reach an audience.