Be Careful What You Like: Facebook Pages Can Push Content Through Your News Feed

By Justin Lafferty 

You could be posting to your news feed even when you’re not purposefully posting to your news feed. If you happened to have liked any kind of political page in your Facebook life, the page could be posting on your behalf, making for awkward moments, according to ZDNet. Facebook doesn’t see this as a problem — it’s a feature.

A ZDNet writer started seeing strong political posts in his news feed from friends who didn’t share them. The post would say (Friend) likes (page), then show the page’s most recent photo. Thinking something was amiss, he asked the friends about it, and they told him that while they may have liked the page, they didn’t want those posts pushed to their news feed.

Here’s a sample:

The writer, Ed Bott, explained the frustration:

If you actively share a link, a post, or a photo, you expect that shared item to go out to your friends immediately. In this case, however, the posts are going out under your name because at some point in the past (in some cases in the distant past), you visited a page and clicked like.

Yes, you voluntarily liked that page and made it part of your Facebook profile. If a Facebook friend wants to go through your list of likes, they can learn that you like the NRA, or PETA, or a seemingly innocuous group that you probably didn’t realize was funded by Karl Rove’s political action committee.

But I doubt that you expected that simple click to result in a flood of posts under your name months later.

One associate whose name was attached to a rabidly right-wing political post said she disagreed vehemently with the sentiment it expressed, and she couldn’t imagine why it appeared under her name.

It’s frustrating on both ends. The original user didn’t choose to share that post, but it’s broadcast to friends anyway. The friend can hide that specific post, but can’t block the page from posting repeatedly. Unlike sponsored stories, these are not ads, Bott says.

This has to be some kind of bug, right? Maybe some pages figured out a security loophole. Nope. Facebook calls this a new feature, intended to help people find pages that their friends like. A Facebook spokesperson told Bott about this:

To help people find new pages, events, and other interesting information, people may now see posts from a page a friend likes. These posts will include the social context from your friends who like the page and will respect all existing settings.

Readers: Have you seen posts from a page that a friend liked?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.