Facebook has removed the ability for Page admins to tag their friends when posting as their Page. Previously, Pages could use this ability to highlight people who authored content they were posting, or to thank admins and loyal fans. However, being tagged by a Page may have led users to receive unwanted friend requests.
The change may be designed to push those looking to build up their name to create a Page for themselves that can be tagged by other Pages.
We received reports of this change as early as June 23rd, so after two weeks of tagging still functioning this way we’re confident this is a change and not a bug. Facebook could always reinstate the functionality, though.
In September 2009, Facebook began allowing users to tag anything they were connected to, including friends, Pages, Events and later Places and new Groups as they were launched. Pages were given the same ability. More recently Facebook allowed for tagging within comments, for tags of user names to be shortened to just a first or last name, and for users to tag Pages in photos.
Page admins, when posting under the alias of their Page, could tag their friends. This was helpful for Pages that represented teams, as individuals could be recognized for their contributions. For instance, the Page of a blog with multiple authors could include a tag of the user who wrote an article the Page was posting.
If a a fan made an especially helpful contribution or won a contest, a Page’s admin could friend that user and then tag them in a post or a message of thanks. This ability helped Pages encourage users to be active members of their fan community.
Now, Pages can not tag any users, regardless of whether that user is an admin of a Page, a friend, someone who Likes the Page, or anyone else. Facebook may have made this change because users tagged by popular Pages might receive high volumes of unsolicited friend requests. When a tagged user marked these requests as being from people they didn’t know, it could prevent those sending the unwanted friend requests from sending legitimate requests to people they knew in the future.
Facebook may prefer that users who want to be recognized set up their own Pages. This way interest of other users stemming from being tagged come in the form of asynchronous Likes rather than synchronous friend requests that users might now want. Getting more people and businesses to set up Pages is also in Facebook’s interests, as Page often buy advertising to gain more Likes.
There is one small exception to the tagging change, though. If Page admins click on the “Share” link on news feed or wall stories, they can select to publish it to their Page. Within that repost, the admin can tag the friends. This functionality may have been left in by accident, though, so it might be removed soon.
Facebook is constantly faced with questions like this, where it has to balance the functionality of Pages and businesses, the quality of the user experience, and its own bottom line. In this case, the benefit of Pages being able to tag users may have been outweighed by the issues that arise when users are tagged in posts that could be seen by millions of people.
Update 7/12/11 5:00 pm PST: We’ve received conflicting reports of some users being able to tag users in their Page posts, while others cannot. For now, this change should be considered a partially rolled out test. We’ll update here if we determine Facebook has allowed or disallowed this ability for all users.
[Thanks to Points In Case for the tip]