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Social Media Watch: Facebook Slowly Rolls Out New, Disastrous, Puzzling Feature

Published 3/29/24 at 8:05 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Portland, Oregon) – Without any notice or documentation, Facebook / Meta is apparently slowly rolling out a feature affecting business pages that will effectively kill off the ability to use posts to link to their own sites. (Above: example of how Facebook actually deletes the link and shows only options for a chat box)

Numerous attempts to contact Meta and have them respond were unanswered.

It's a bizarre and awkward setup now that no longer lets you post a link to a page on your site, such as a blog post or an article. All the user sees is the preview of the page's photo, and any link that might've been there originally is bypassed, only opening up the “send message” box. It's puzzling and it's proven frustrating for followers of the Facebook pages it affects. Readers can't get to what is posted.

Step 1: opening the post option presents this puzzling new "send message" button (see this actual post here. Note: we backdated it after finishing to allay audience confusion). Complete steps at the bottom of the article text

This new way of posting also entails “forcing” the admin of the page to include the chat box when posting, not allowing the admin to say no to that. There is an “x” at the prompt for the “Send Message” box when you're in the middle of posting, but even if you opt out of that the chat box appears for the follower and the link to the article is bypassed.

Essentially, Facebook only allows the reader to open a chat box when they click on the post. They also force the admin to use the message box instead of how posting is usually done, something that serves no purpose.

Oregon Coast Beach Connection's page is one of those affected: other reports of this are sporadic as of now but will likely grow quickly. It appears to be a slow rollout and not an error, as more than one business page associated with OCBC has been afflicted with it since this appeared early this week.

In many ways, this new method of posting seems full of errors on Facebook's part, so a working theory is that this is maybe some sort of beta test. However, they're not allowing page admins to opt out.

Even trying to turn the post into an ad (boosting it), does not change this unworkable format. No one can get to the post that's intended. If business pages can no longer use a post correctly for even an ad, it will render spending money with Facebok a useless approach.

Whatever the greater plan, it could be Facebook is moving towards a new method of making pages pay to post at all, or something else entirely. If it continues this direction, it will surely cause most business pages to simply lose users completely.

Again, this is all guessing. Facebook never responded.

Opening a chat box instead of giving the user what they are promised with a post is, well, let's face it: this is a recipe for page destruction.

If you've been affected by this new feature, contact OCBC.

Step 2: the link is placed and previews OK, and after you hit the "x" to opt out of the message box it disappears - for the moment.

Step 3: the post is up, but when you click on the post, this chat box is the only thing that happens. It's supposed to go to the actual article.

The same thing occurred with this link to a story. See the post


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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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