Facebook has added a reminder above pages that users own to make it clear whether they are posting as themselves or on behalf of the page.
A light blue bar stretches across the top of the page telling page owners which “voice” they are using to post, Like and comment. There is an option to easily switch between the page and a user’s personal profile. The feature will help page owners avoid mistakenly posting or taking other actions as the wrong voice. However, it feels like a Band-Aid where the social network may need more of a product overhaul.
The new “voice” reminder does not integrate with the “use Facebook as a page” feature. When users switch between voices, they are not being logged in as a page. The actions they take on the page they own will come from the voice of the page, but once they navigate to another page, they are posting as themselves again. The voice reminder doesn’t follow users to other parts of the site and it doesn’t give page owners options to switch to using Facebook as a page or change their posting settings. Those two features were always buried and not explained particularly well. Now, Facebook has eliminated the “posting preferences” option from page settings. This means that users cannot set a default for whether they want to take action as themselves or as a page. When page owners visit their pages, the new feature defaults to the most recent “voice” used for that page, which may or not be helpful for different people.
“Use Facebook as a page” seemed like a game-changing feature for page owners when it came out in February 2011, but it’s unclear how many people use it for moderating their page and responding to posts on other pages across the site. Facebook hasn’t made any push to get page owners to use it, and it seemed neglected in the Timeline redesign. For example, the News Feed publisher box was left outdated for several months until last week. We wondered whether “use Facebook as a page” would be phased out, though Facebook told us in April that it would continue to support it.
When Facebook added the ability to view page notifications without having to switch to using Facebook as a page, “use Facebook as a page” became less necessary. And with many page owners now using third-party software for moderation and publishing, the type of advanced user who would use the feature no longer had need for it. However, a key aspect of “use Facebook as a page” is the ability to write on other pages on behalf of a brand or organization. Liking users’ comments or responding to their questions on other fan pages is important for page owners to build and maintain customer relationships. For now this is still available, but it’s unclear whether Facebook will move away from this completely or find another way to implement it through the new “voice” bar above pages.