In October 2017, Facebook users in certain countries were part of a test in which two separate timelines were available to users.  One timeline showed only posts from friends (sponsored – i.e. paid content was also shown), while the other timeline (Explore) was hidden in the sidebar.  The Explore newsfeed was a collection of public, non-paid content from business pages the users were already following. 

Being the digital age, news spread quickly about this change and smaller companies began worrying even more about losing what is left of their organic reach on Facebook. With this new timeline feed, unless someone is actively searching on the Explore newsfeed, business page content would no longer be seen. The only way to push the content was for the companies to boost their posts, aka put money behind their news.

Facebook responded by saying this was only a test and they would not be rolling this out worldwide, yet. Yet. They want to understand the ways users prefer to see their timelines.

So, although there are no current plans to roll this out worldwide, this should be a time for smaller companies to start planning ahead to help ensure their content will still be seen.  It wouldn’t hurt to startputting aside some media budget for social, for when the inevitable happens. Because, of course, it will at some point.

*Note the Explore feed that was rolled out to the rest of the world was to introduce users to content/pages that they do not follow.  This was not the case with the test that was performed in the six countries where only promoted posts were included in the main newsfeed.

Here are a few more articles to help you understand the issue:

https://medium.com/refresh-magazine/facebook-news-feed-change-is-death-to-small-businesses-c1c9a777efc2

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/24/facebook-no-plans-news-feed-change-worldwide

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2017/10/facebook-says-its-not-changing-the-news-feed-for-now-but-should-we-believe-them.html