Facebook quietly introduced an "Unlike Page" button into its News Feed recently, which allows users to opt-out of receiving unwanted messages from pages they had previously said they "liked."
Now, when a user clicks the "X" button to remove a story from their News Feed, there's an option to unlike the page, which joins other options including "mark as spam, "hide this post," or "hide all" posts from the offending page.
The change, notes marketing news site Clickz, reporting on the impact of this news for businesses, makes "Facebook wall posts behave a little bit more like email, while raising the stakes on high-level message relevancy so audience members don't opt out."
Unliking Gets Easier
We saw the news about this change reported on Monday as well, on unofficial Facebook news site, Inside Facebook. They noted that this was only one of many changes surrounding the "like" feature as of late. Facebook has also been prompting users with few likes to add more pages, has been showing what likes users have in common, has re-launched its "Page Browser" to encourage liking and more.
The "unlike button" change is so new, in fact, that we couldn't find any mention of it in Facebook's own help documentation. Currently, the only mention of how "unliking" pages works is this FAQ post directing users to "unlike" a page by visiting the page directly, then clicking the "unlike" link in the lower left-hand corner. That process is similar to how you would "un-friend" someone on Facebook - you have to visit their profile and then select "Remove from Friends" at the bottom left. Obviously, having to navigate directly to a page to unlike it is much more cumbersome for users than just clicking a button.
Spammy Marketers, Take Note
For marketers, this easy-access "unlike" button in the News Feed means it's even more important to dial down the frequency of updates so as not to become overly "spammy." The content of those messages should be carefully considered too. Offend a user with an off-the-cuff post and they may be gone for good. Says Clickz, users can now "simply see one brand post that turns them off and leave the company's audience...without leaving their personal wall." The only good news for marketers here is that the change doesn't seem to propagate over to the end user's Wall for their friends to see, too.
While the new "unliking" methodology is certainly easier than before, it's not a one-step process. Instead, "unliking" actually takes two steps - the first to click "unlike page" and then a pop-up box appears asking if you really want to remove your connection to the page entirely. A user has to click "Remove Post and Unlike" in order to opt out from seeing any more messages from that page going forward.
The change may help to increase the number of "likes" a user doles out in the future. Once users know that it's (almost) as easy to "unlike" something as it is to "like" it, they may be more willing to click the like button.