Facebook Disables Stream Publishing for Many Large Generic Pages

Facebook has begun cracking down on owners of generic Pages tonight, removing stream publishing privileges for many Pages with over 500,000 fans. Owners who log into their Page administration console will see the above notice that their publishing rights have been blocked “due to a violation of the Pages Terms of Use.”

In addition to not being able to publish to the stream, these Page owners are also unable to send updates to fans. In other words, all outbound communication channels have been cut off. However, Page owners are still able to moderate the discussion board, install applications, and manage page photos and other information.

This news should stifle the budding marketplace for generic Pages with lots of fans. Two weeks ago, OraBrush bought the Kisses page and its 1.1 million fans for an undisclosed sum, and others have been building Page networks as well. However, Facebook’s actions tonight have rendered many of those Pages more like glorified Groups than vehicles for pumping content into the Facebook stream.

We all knew it was coming. Facebook’s intention with Pages is that they be a product for brands, businesses, and public figures – not speculative marketing channels. Its terms of service prohibit “fake” and “unofficial” Pages, and many generic Pages fall in the “bumper sticker” category that Facebook Groups have served in for so long.

Facebook marketers looking for the right way to reach people inside Facebook should start thinking differently than ammassing a network of generic Pages. Pages are a place for official brands and their agents to engage Facebook users – and still offer significant opportunity for those acting in an official capacity.