Lost public access to Facebook pages

Posted on June 20, 2012 • Written by Jeff Williams

By Sara Villegas

We had a bit of a surprise this morning when we were monitoring our clients’ Facebook pages: people are no longer able to visit a public Facebook business page when they are not logged in to Facebook.

Facebook outreach is becoming a large part of many of our clients’ marketing strategies, and public Facebook pages are where many potential new customers land when they’re looking for a particular business. As of this morning, anyone who lands on a public Facebook page without being logged in to Facebook will get a dialogue box informing them that they need to log in to continue on to the page.

The implications of this bug – and we do hope it’s a bug – are potentially harmful to businesses and their customers. Imagine visiting a Facebook page for a business you are interested in, and instead of seeing dynamic and relevant content, you are informed that you need to log in to Facebook. What motivation do you have to log in, revisit the page, and interact?

My guess is that many users wouldn’t think it’s worth the trouble.

Facebook has a reputation for making changes to its privacy settings without much communication or advance notice. We’re not sure of the motivations behind this change – or if it’s just a glitch – but we are hoping to hear something from the Facebook team soon. It is possible that the change has something to do with how Facebook displays targeted ads (they can’t get targeted ad revenue if users aren’t logged in) but cutting off public pages from the public hardly seems like the best solution.

For businesses who are trying to build their Facebook following, involve customers in contests, or simply create a publicly visible social presence, this will have negative effects. As of right now, public Facebook pages are still showing up in search, which is good. But if customers can’t view a page they found through a search engine, will they visit again?

Is anyone else experiencing the “Please log in to continue” problem this morning? And better yet, has anyone found a way around it? Let us know in the comments!

UPDATE: A reader shared in the comments that if you hit “ESC” when the dialogue box pops up, the page will load normally. This worked for us, but we are still hoping Facebook created a permanent solution since most users won’t know of this solution immediately.

Jeff Williams

Written by Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition. He uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings. Jeff continues to focus on understanding the technical aspects of SEO factors that affect website rankings in the major search engines. He has recently found a passion in local marketing and helping business carry out effective digital marketing strategies, taking a lead role in developing Fruition’s local SEO services.

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