Various messages warning that Facebook is now deleting inactive likes from Facebook Pages are circulating vigorously across the network.
The messages implore users to interact with Pages they value so that their ‘like’ will not be removed and they continue to see Page posts.
However, the messages are misleading and are apparently derived from a misinterpretation of a March 2015 Facebook news update.
Many Page admins have taken the announcement to mean that Facebook is removing likes from accounts that are not currently active on their Page. They have therefore sent out warning messages asking followers to interact with their Pages to avoid having their like removed.
However, this interpretation is incorrect. Even if a user has not been active on a particular Page for a while, his or her ‘like’ will NOT be removed from the Page.
Facebook IS removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from the like counts of Pages. The Facebook announcement notes:
Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update. It’s important to remember, though, that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.
Going forward, any accounts that are voluntarily deactivated or memorialized will be removed from a Page’s like count.
If a deactivated account is reactivated, the account will be re-added to a Page’s like count. Everyone benefits from meaningful information on Facebook. It’s our hope that this update makes Pages even more valuable for businesses.
Thus, the likes that are being removed are only those that have no real value to Page owners. The likes are from users who will NEVER interact with the Page again (Unless they reactivate their account in which case their Page like will be added back).
While the update may well result in a significant drop in overall Page likes for some Page owners, their removal should have no impact on the number of users who actually interact with a particular Page.
The request in these messages for users to interact with Pages to avoid having their likes removed is therefore redundant. Users who actually see and read these posts will not be considered inactive and their likes will not be removed.
All that being said, I should clarify that users who have liked a Page may no longer see that Page’s posts if they have not interacted with the Page for some time. Facebook uses a quite complex algorithm that filters the posts people see based on a large number of factors. The less a user interacts with a Page’s posts, the less likely future posts from that Page will be shown on his or her feed.
But, while a user who has not been active on a particular Page may no longer see posts from the Page, his or her Page like will NOT be removed.
While a sudden drop in Page likes may be worrisome for some Page owners, the change is actually a positive one and should result in more meaningful and current Page statistics.