Here at Your Brexit, we are just about coming up to our one year anniversary of setting up this blog, and our goal is still the same – to bring fellow Brexiteers engaging, informative content all about our country’s ongoing quest to not only Leave the European Union, but also to create a strong, independent nation moving forward past March 2019.
As Brexit supporters, in the run-up to June 23rd 2016 we all managed to fight off the dreaded ‘Project Fear’ that at one stage threatened to derail the whole process and push Remain over the line – even Brexit’s biggest supporter Nigel Farage was convinced that this would be the outcome just after the polls closed.
However, this is all ‘ancient history,’ so to speak, and now Brexiteers face a new and incredibly powerful opponent – Facebook.
The mainstream media, and this now surely includes social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter, are horrified by the thought of Brexit.
There are a few notable exceptions of course, but the establishment and their ‘mouthpieces’ still seem to be convinced that they can somehow stop Brexit by not only refusing to engage with the Brexiteer blogs and Facebook pages, but just by simply crushing their influence.
In Facebook’s case, there is one very effective method that they can deploy for this purpose – restricting reach.
Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a few weeks ago that Facebook would soon start prioritising personal content (pictures of sausages, that sixteenth baby photo of the day, rants about your hair being ‘unmanageable’ today etc.) over publisher content such as ours.
While this is all very noble, Mr Zuckerberg seems to have forgotten one very important point – Facebook has encouraged publishers like us to plough pieces of our actual soul into building a following.
Facebook has encouraged publishers like us to adopt their Instant Articles product (that incidentally makes the company an absolute bloody fortune across the board), and this is why those of you reading this from a mobile device get an almost instant loading time and clean-ish page design.
Here’s the worst part though – Facebook has encouraged publishers like us to invest actual cold, hard cash in sponsored posts and paid ‘like’ campaigns under the premise that it would all pay off in the future.
Now Mr Zuckerberg, we DO NOT see a correlation between investing time and money in building up our page, and then you waltzing onto some Silicon Valley stage and telling the world that publishers are going to get an absolute hammering.
You’ve made your billions, so it’s now a case of ‘I’m alright Jack?’
In the last couple of months, our on-page engagement has remained healthy, with memes taking off and flying like you wouldn’t believe, but the second we post a Your Brexit article, it all suddenly goes very quiet.
By using Instant Articles as well for the majority of our traffic, we are not even diverting people away from your precious Facebook environment!
The links themselves still get the likes and the comments (our readers are VERY passionate), but the actual traffic deriving from our page has declined spectacularly at the same time as our overall page like count going through the roof.
Now, Facebook will simply say that this is happening to all publishers as part of their drive to make the social media network a more personal place, but we have taken the time to speak to other right-wing and left-wing blogs, and the pattern that has emerged is shocking.
We won’t name them all here as they can all choose to rant or not rant as they see fit, but from the raw evidence that we have seen it is clear that right-wing pages have seen a far greater drop in traffic, and we can’t say that we are surprised by this behaviour.
Satirical and fake news pages are also seeing a similar drop in traffic in comparison to the left-wing blogs out there – what the hell are you trying to say?
After all, right-wing pages seem to be ‘disappearing’ all the time at the moment, and we have lost count of the number of right-wing users who come to us and say that they have just served a ‘ban’ for simply getting involved in a heated argument and arguing with the wrong people.
The real issue here is that we have all built up a decent following on Facebook, and we can’t just sit here and say, ‘Never mind eh, we will just take our business elsewhere to that other omnipotent social media network instead.’
Facebook has well and truly cornered the market (forget about Twitter for publishing), and the network knows this too well – so if they decide that Brexit somehow needs to be ‘squashed’ they have the power to make this happen by crushing any opposing points of view at the touch of a button.
Sure, our content and other Pro-Brexit content will still be live and ready to be viewed, but Facebook’s ever-changing News Feed algorithm will ensure that it hardly ever pops up in people’s fields of view.
They will argue that people can simply visit our page and find it that way, but how many users open the Facebook app or website and say to themselves, ‘Right then. Let’s go and systematically visit all of my favourite pages and take the time to scroll through them one by one?’
None. Absolutely none at all. To peddle that response is nothing short of an insult.
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has the power to literally make or break a business (thank heavens that Your Brexit is more of a hobby right now), and if we simply allow things to go the way that they are going, this same almost-faceless bit of programming could genuinely threaten Brexit by only allowing Remain voices to be heard.
They cannot even say that this all ties in with tackling hateful speech online – it is also insulting to say that the Brexit movement on social media is all about blasting minorities and disguising racist sentiments.
There are genuine Brexiteers out there who voted Leave because they took a reasonable decision based upon the facts about our membership of the European Union. Nothing to do with hatred, xenophobia, racism, or any other tired cliché that people want to throw at us.
The only saving grace (for the time being) is that every single member of our valued Facebook user base has the ability to ensure that our content appears prominently in their News Feed, and we would suggest doing the following for all of your favourite pages in the interests of trying to maintain a fair and open space for debate.
Once you have landed on our main Facebook page here, you will see a button called ‘Following,’ and it is simply a case of clicking on the little arrow, and then where it says ‘In Your News Feed’ you can just click on ‘See First’ instead of ‘Default’ – you can even click ‘Get Notifications’ as well if you would like to be ‘pinged’ every time we post.
You will see screenshots of this process on mobile and desktop/laptop below:
By doing this for all of the Facebook pages that you want to read (including ours hopefully), you will be able to create a News Feed that genuinely interests YOU, as opposed to the News Feed that Facebook wants you to see.
Once you have done this, why don’t you pop back to the original Facebook post where you saw this article from Your Brexit (hopefully) and just comment with the hashtag #takingbackcontrol.
When all is said and done, all Brexit voters managed to take back control of this proud nation’s destiny, and so it is only right that we ‘take back control’ of the media content that we see every single day – this may be a hashtag hijack, but it is for a very worthy cause.
Facebook, and indeed Your Brexit, would be absolutely nothing if it wasn’t for every single one of you, and we will continue to be eternally grateful for your support.
Yours in anticipation for the next 12 months and beyond,