Facebook has removed the option to unlike pages after hiding stories in newly designed News Feed, introduced last Thursday.
In the old design, if users were to hide a story from a page they Liked, they could then chose to hide all the page’s posts from appearing in their News Feed or unlike the page completely. The new News Feed features a similar flow, but removes the choice to unlike the page. This could help pages retain their fan counts, even if they lose reach when users hide their posts. It also prevents Facebook from losing valuable data about users’ interests.
For users, this change makes it a longer process to unlike a page. To unlike a page completely, users must either visit the actual page and click “unlike” from the top of the page, or they must go through a complicated process that involves hovering over different links within News Feed.
As for pages, the change could affect page reach in relation to page Likes. If more users are hiding posts but not unliking the page, it would appear as though a page’s reach percentage is decreasing even though Likes stay relatively the same or even increase.
Facebook may have made this change because it wants users to continue to like a page even if they choose to hide it completely. By allowing users to continue to like a page, it is able to index that information for ad targeting, search and recommendations. It also helps to provide page owners with deeper information on a page’s fan demographic. Page Likes provide a more detailed index of audiences, empowering marketers to continue creating hyper-relevant creative for a responsive audience, and gain insights that they can apply to their other marketing efforts.
However, this might also have been an oversight and Facebook could return this option before the new News Feed rolls out more widely. This has happened in the past with the “hide all” option.