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Did you just notice a big change in your page’s follower count? That’s not a bug—it’s a feature.

Facebook has just homogenised its behaviour across the service when it comes to inactive accounts. Here’s what that means for your page.

Follower Counts Will Go Down

All forms of inactive accounts will be included in this statistics purge, such as memorialized accounts Facebook Now Lets You Give Someone Your Account When You Die Facebook Now Lets You Give Someone Your Account When You Die What happens to your Facebook profile when you die? Read More , voluntarily deactivated accounts How To Properly Close Your Facebook Account How To Properly Close Your Facebook Account Read More (possibly soon to be deleted), spam accounts and more. So, all those people who aren’t really using Facebook will cease to count towards things that matter to page owners. And that’s a good thing.

“We’ve recently updated the way we measure how many people like your page. Pages may see a decrease in likes after March 12, when we removed likes from inactive Facebook accounts. And inactive Facebook accounts are those which were memorialized for deceased users, or voluntarily deactivated. ” — Facebook.

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Inactive Accounts Are Ignored Equally

This ignoring of inactive accounts is all in the name of consistency across Facebook. Currently, inactive accounts are ignored for “likes” and comments on updates, images and videos. Now they will be ignored for Facebook pages too, and at some point presumably also for groups.

The consistency is a good thing for confirming current real popularity of items on Facebook, meaning the Edgerank of the items 8 Tips To Increase EdgeRank & Exposure For Your Facebook Page Updates [Weekly Facebook Tips] 8 Tips To Increase EdgeRank & Exposure For Your Facebook Page Updates [Weekly Facebook Tips] If you run a Facebook Page, you probably noticed that there was a change in your reach since September 2012. This is because Facebook revised how its EdgeRank algorithm worked for Pages, making it a... Read More can be calculated correctly. It also stops people from paying for likes on their posts and pages, which makes them look popular when they may not be in reality.

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All of this is good for page owners who are doing the right thing, even though they may see a drop from losing numbers of legitimate users who have become inactive.

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Facebook Marketers Can Finally See Real Fans

Not only will this change make it clear who the active Facebook users are that like your page, it will mean all of the Facebook statistics make more sense. When you look at your statistics, you shouldn’t see unexplained spikes in the data. When you see the engagement numbers on your posts Get More Likes On Your Facebook Photos Using Science [Weekly Facebook Tips] Get More Likes On Your Facebook Photos Using Science [Weekly Facebook Tips] Want to know which photos will do best on Facebook? So did a bunch of researchers. And they found out. Read More , you can accurately compare that to your total follower numbers to see what portion of your audience saw or engaged with the post.

As well as clearing up your statistics, this means that Facebook advert targeting will be more realistic. Imagine if you’d been designing an advert Thinking Of Paying Facebook For Ads? Use These Tips To Do It Right [Weekly Facebook Tips] Thinking Of Paying Facebook For Ads? Use These Tips To Do It Right [Weekly Facebook Tips] Does your business really make use of Facebook? Or do you merely update your page occasionally with some hope of keeping your fans updated? There's a difference. A big difference. Read More for a segment of your fans who were completely inactive? Well, now you won’t be misled by those nuisance accounts. This makes sense when you consider certain target markets. Businesses targeting teenagers, who are known for considering social media accounts to be ephemeral, will no longer see abandoned accounts as part of the segment they want to attract. For Facebook marketers The Facebook Marketing Guide The Facebook Marketing Guide Anyone trying to market a business knows that they need to “get a Facebook presence” because “Facebook is huge”. That’s great, but how do you get started? Read More targeting older people, they won’t have misleading segment numbers caused by memorialized accounts.

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When Will This Happen?

Well, the purge has already started. It was slated to begin on March 12, however some social media managers reported they had seen significant drops well before that date.

“The decrease in likes will begin March 12, Facebook said, and should continue over the next few weeks. The social network wrote that Page administrators should see a ‘small dip’ in their likes. But while some may object to losing likes, they should remember that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.” — Venture Beat.

What Do You Think Of The Purge?

Has your Facebook page been affected by the inactive account purge? Do you think it’s a good thing overall or not? Why? Join the discussion below.

  1. jagdesh samaroo
    April 24, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Total bull shit. I have got over 60,000 fans on my facebook page. now facebook gonna take away my hard earned likes? i am in the business of electronic cigarettes. which facebook does not allow advertising for. In my country i ran radio and TV ads and people liked my page in my country. This is total crap

  2. vtgmikey
    March 25, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Have been boosting my page for months, spending up to $1500.00 a month! On 3/17 they took over 1200 likes away right when I hit 15,000 plus! I figure it cost an average of $1.00 per like! How about giving me a credit Facebook? No I don't think it was a good thing! I spent 5 years fighting for those likes!

  3. anonymous
    March 23, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    This is interesting! Facebook encourages page owners to do paid promotion of their page. When the owners paid for the same and did that, the page likes multiplied overnight - a lot of these coming from the 'facebook like farms' aka ghost accounts from various countries. Now, Facebook did a big purge of lot of inactive and spam accounts (which includes those ghost accounts!!) so the page owners saw their page likes go down significantly. It might be a good thing for businesses, as now only genuine people will be targeted for future paid promotions, but, isn't it unethical on the part of Facebook to charge for something initially and go ahead and purge those same accounts? And who knows, may be again charge the owners for fetching those same kind of likes?

  4. fatin
    March 20, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Do Facebook will give us rebate since they served our add to inactive user?

  5. Karin Christina
    March 19, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Well, thanks, FB, for letting me pay to promote my page, achieving 1000+ likes, assuming that would make a favourable impression should I be ready to have a go at having my promoted comic published, only to take away a considerable number of likes overnight, disregarding the fact that people who have inactive accounts haven't consciously unliked my page specifically. I have now temporarily unpublished my page to avoid further cuts. What next ?

  6. Kevin S.
    March 19, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    It is a pain in the ad, and yes, I said ad. Brands pay a lot of money to acquire likes/fans, only to have those numbers slashed without notice. The brand I manage did not get any word this was happening, and we even have a FB rep.

    • Brendan M
      March 20, 2015 at 12:32 am

      "Brands pay a lot of money to acquire likes/fans, only to have those numbers slashed without notice." Maybe the "BRAND" should get likes and fans the old fashioned by providing a decent product or service that people are willing to engage with instead of paying money for the "temporary" penis enlargement that paying for likes really is.

  7. TIG
    March 18, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    So... as a 'liker' do I have to be active just on Facebook, or on the page I 'like' via comments and such to keep from being removed from their page?

    • Bradley
      March 19, 2015 at 3:25 am

      You won't be removed from any pages just because you don't participate on that particular page. It's basically to get rid of the spammers and deactivated accounts that are screwing with the algorithm.

      They should have done this YEARS ago.

  8. LibertyTreeOfFaith
    March 18, 2015 at 1:50 am

    I discontinued my cellphone, never created a Twitter and Facebook account because I knew back then (I am a Software Engineer by degree) what would happen and IT DID.

    Social media IS VERY DANGEROUS, if you are not careful. . . . .your words, your info, etc. will come back to haunt you in one way or another.

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