Joni Marie, Manager of the popular facebook page, Brietbart – One Voice Silenced, Millions Awakened, recently gave us her facebook page number details in an interview. While increasing their followers by 15% in one month, they had a big drop in their reach, which is a measurement that tells the page owner how far his message has spread. Their “overall reach” dropped by 47%, and their “daily reach” dropped by a whopping 65.5%. Anyone who understands business knows this is unusual. In fact, it’s unlikely that your followers would increase as much as 15% only to have your audience cut in half unless something or someone were helping it along.
In my previous article, “Breitbart versus Facebook“, I asked two questions that I couldn’t answer. First, is facebook guilty of sabotaging the larger conservative pages? Second, are they actually doing something so sinister as removing comments, preventing posting, stopping their posts from going out on their reader’s newsfeeds, and even adding Page Manager’s without the page owner’s permission? There is more going on at facebook than meets the eye.
Joni Marie got a screenshot of a woman named Joyce Tang who was added as a Manager on her page, by someone other than the page Managers. She told us:
According to Joni, she did a thorough search of facebook profiles and could find nothing on Joyce Tang. Lady Patriots looked for her and we couldn’t find her.
After this ,we had a patriot post a link to “linkedin.com” where she had put her resume. Through her resume, we easily found her facebook page, and between both of them, we found out a lot about Joyce Tang.Joyce is a young, beautiful woman who lives in San Francisco, CA and has worked for Facebook as a Product Specialist for Facebook Pages since November 2011. She has been with facebook since October 2009, and before that she worked for Google for nearly four years, and a company called Honest Tea as an intern for a year. She is well respected in her job and community because she gets the job done and seems to be willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve her objective.
At Google, she was an Adword Ambassador, then an Adword Strategist where she specialized in adds and increasing revenue. Her job at facebook doesn’t seem to be that different. At least she is in the marketing end of the business. She has served in three different positions at facebook, presumably through promotions. Her first job was “Associate – Online Sales Operations”, from October 2009 – April 2011, where many of her accomplishments seem to have significantly increased revenue. Her second job with facebook was “Team Lead – Global Sales Reporting”, from April 2011 – October 2011. In this position, she did training and focused on revenue increase.
Since November of 2011, she has been in her current position as a “Product Specialist for Facebook Pages”. Just what does a “Product Specialist for Facebook Pages” do? It seems that one of her job responsibilities is to put herself as “Manager” on Facebook Pages that she manipulates. That’s what she did at Breitbart – One Voice Silenced, Millions Awakened. What could she possibly be doing to these pages that would fall under her job responsibilities? Let’s take a look at her duties and see what would require such an decisive step. Her resume shows these duties in a different order, but I moved a couple of them so we could discuss them in more detail.
1. Responsible for representing the voice of the user to our Product and Engineering Teams – Exactly whose voice does she represent? She certainly doesn’t represent the voice of Joni Marie or any of the legitimate Manager of their page, even when they contacted facebook and begged them to find out why they were having so many problems. She doesn’t represent the voice of these page’s readers who can’t post, share, like, comment, or see their feeds. Even after they made screenshots of their problems and emailed them to the only email address that anyone was able to find. It doesn’t look like she represents or speaks for any of the millions of facebook users who want to communicate, visit with friends and family, share pictures and interesting articles, or just simply be left alone to enjoy their facebook experience. No, she doesn’t represent any of these people.
2. Help create and advocate internal tools to simplify support of our Facebook Pages Product – If we were going by the service that many large page owners have had on facebook for the past few months it would appear that she’s not doing a very good job. What kind of internal tools could she be advocating (for?), and creating to simplify support of their Facebook Pages Product? I could recommend one internal tool that would be extremely helpful. A simple email address with a human being at the other end who would “support” users with their facebook pages would make a huge difference. That would be an excellent first step. Or, when we call the them using a phone number we have to scrounge up through google, they could have someone actually answer the phone and forward the user to a support technician who can help them. According to Wikipedia, facebook had a revenue of $5.1 billion in 2012. I don’t know what computer techs get paid in California, but I’m sure that a lot of those qualified unemployed people out there would be willing to work for less just to have a job. It’s something to think about. Maybe Joyce Tang can advocate that as part of a simplified support system.
Today I had a long conversation with Joe Newby, a writer for the examiner.com. He has been writing about problems people are having with facebook for a while. He told me that he suggested to a facebook spokesperson that it would be nice to have support people to serve their users. Facebook told him that it with 1.11 billion users it would cost too much money. Joe even told this spokesperson that people would probably be willing to pay a small fee just to have someone at the other end of the phone or email who cares about the problems we are having with our facebook pages. That too fell on deaf ears.
3. Communicate Pages Information to support our 600+ person Sales Team globally – All of Joyce Tang’s jobs have been in marketing and increasing revenue. Her job centers around revenue increase through facebook pages, so it just makes sense that she would have an effective way to communicate relevant information and support to their global sales team.
4. Maintain the product quality of the Facebook Pages product – Most of us know that she isn’t doing a very good job at maintaining the product quality of the facebook pages. Many people can’t post, share, comment, like, or any of the basic functions of a normal facebook page. Someone may want to check into her job performance on this. But then again, she could be doing her role extremely well. Especially if we look at all her duties and responsibilities at facebook.
5. Gather qualitative and quantitative insights about user behavior on the Pages Product through various channels and bugs to understand user behavior – Of all of Joyce Tang’s job responsibilities at facebook this one appears to best describe the behavior of your facebook pages for the past few months. Look at it carefully. She says that she gathers qualitative (that related to distinction of quality) and quantitative (that is or may be estimated by quantity insights) about “user behavior” on the pages. Why would they want to do this? It is obvious that they are studying people’s reactions on the larger facebook pages (especially the conservative ones) as guinea pigs.
How better to see people’s reaction to facebook’s erratic behavior than to run tests on pages to find out quantitative insights and measure user response? We know that Joyce Tang placed herself as the Manager on the Breitbart page. We have a picture of her in the lineup after Joni moved her down from Manager to content manager. How many pages have she, or some other facebook employee moved in on and placed themselves at the top? What does she do at the Manager of your page? Why does she need to be the manager of other people’s facebook pages? According to her resume, Joyce Tang is gathering insights (information) about user behavior from their facebook pages.
Does that mean that they sometimes leave the “share” button off on purpose or make sure it doesn’t work? If so, do they do it to test our reactions or is there a simpler explanation? What about the page owner’s ability to post links, or for the page’s feed not showing up on users walls? Could this be part of the test? What kind of responses are they measuring with their tests? It seems like since Joyce Tang’s career path has been to increase revenue, that would probably be a good place to start. They know people are getting tired of their games. More than one large page is looking at the possibility of moving to an independent website and posting links to facebook as Lady Patriot does. That will keep them from being entirely dependent on facebook. Although it won’t make their pages work better, it will give their readers a place to go and get their content with “like” and “share” buttons that work.
Let’s take another look at Joyce Tang’s last job responsibility. She said her job was to gather qualitative and quantitative insights about user behavior on the Pages Product through various channels and bugs to understand user behavior. What channels and bugs does she use to understand user behavior other than adding herself as Manager to Breitbart’s page? We have already discussed quite a few channels or avenues they use against the page owners and users. But what exactly are these “bugs” she mentioned? Two things come to mind when one mentions bugs in a computer environment. One is what we have been discussing. There is nothing nastier than bugs in your house and they’re just as disgusting in your computer. Is facebook putting the “bugs” in the system to drive users where they want them? Is it more than to “measure” our behavior? These bugs are nasty little creatures that prevent the page from functioning correctly, and destroys the user’s ability to get to the page content.
The second bug is the bot that travels around unnoticed from site to site gathering information and reporting it back to the sender. Some site analysis programs tell you not only who is on your site, but how many bots are there gathering information. That’s how sites like google get the information they use in their ranking system. It seems perfectly reasonable that Joyce Tang would use either of these types of bugs and probably a combination of both to achieve her goals.
Ah, but what are her goals? Most of us are aware that these bugs seem to be selective who they go after. We don’t hear about too many of the criminal facebook pages having problems with the basic facebook page functions. Most liberal site get by unscathed. A whole lot of people are convinced that the conservative pages and users are the ones who are experiencing the worst of these bugs. Is it a political attack? Maybe. It certainly seems that the victims of Joyce Tang’s bug infestation are conservatives. Is it to stop our message? That could very likely be a lot of why conservatives were chosen; however, that is an entirely different discussion.
Joyce Tang’s base purpose is to increase revenue. That’s what she has done her entire career. She makes money. Anyone who works on a page from Manager, content manager, moderator, advertiser, to insight analyst can see the analysis at the top of the page that tells them how many likes the page has, how many have been reached and how many are talking about each post. Another thing that can be clearly seen is the box in the lower left hand corner above the page cover that the public sees. It is a little box that says “get more likes”. When one clicks that box, a pop-up gives you a price you can pay to get more likes. The price increases as the page likes increase. The smaller pages are charged $10 and go up in price according to the number of followers on your page. Another thing the staff of a facebook page sees is a box located on the bottom right hand corner of each post. The box says “boost post”. When you click it, another pop-up appears that gives you a price facebook charges you to increase the post’s visibility. Like before, the boost price depends on the number of facebook likes. There is nothing wrong with this. Facebook has every right to charge for this service. Just as they do for the other “extras”.
Joyce Tang is all about making money for facebook. She takes her job seriously as Facebook’s Product Specialist. Perhaps she thinks that enough people will get aggravated and be willing to pay when facebook offers a solution for a price. Who knows? One thing we do know is that Joyce Tang does not care about the end user or the page owners. She cares about facebook and the bottom line.
While she is watching facebook’s bottom line, these channels and bugs are negatively affecting the bottom line of millions of facebook page owners. There are corporations who establish the success or failure of their employees on facebook stats. I have a friend who works for a large corporation. She manages a successful website who posts on facebook. Her bosses told her that she needed to increase her facebook numbers. She has worked hard to do so, but their numbers are being manipulated by Joyce Tang’s bugs. It’s time we said enough!
Joe Newby from the examiner.com wants to send Facebook a message. On July Forth, a lot of us are going to have “Freedom from Facebook Day.
We are asking that we all take one day off from facebook, not the internet, facebook.” Many of us will be with family anyway. Use this time to say NO to facebook.For one day – July 4, 2013 – we ask users to stay away from Facebook. Don’t even log in to the site. If you must use a social media site that day, use Tea Party Community, United Patriots, or something similar. Use email, or better yet, pick up the phone.
I don’t really think this will put a dent in facebook’s bottom line, but it is something that all of us can participate in without costing us anything. If it’s successful, we can make a larger statement later. Who knows whether facebook is doing this because we are conservatives or because $5.1 billion wasn’t enough income last year. It’s just time for it to stop.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz is Co-Editor of Lady Patriots and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.