Stop ‘like gating’

Last week I learned that if you ‘Like’ something on Facebook, you give that entity permission to put updates (read: ads) in your newsfeed.

Yesterday a friend emailed me a link to watch the new Nike World Cup 2010 ad. It was recommended from a friend, so I was pretty motivated to watch it – even when they forced me to “Like” it before I had watched it.

No doubt it’s a fantastic ad. It’s exciting, and football fans the world over are waiting with bated breath for the World Cup to start.

No doubt it cost them an immense sum of money, and they need to work hard to justify the cost. Today, this shows up in my newsfeed:

This isn’t good. It should be clear to people what they are signing up to when they hit the “Like” button on the video. In fact, people shouldn’t be forced to hit “Like” just to watch it, and when they do, it should be clear that they are allowing Nike to send them messages in their newsfeed.


  1. Thanks for sharing what happens when we “Like” things these days. I’ve been avoiding the button, considering Facebook’s inability to responsibly manage privacy on behalf of its users. Last week, I saw a similar “click ‘Like’ to see the video” promo for some other brand (I don’t even remember which) and decided that was a hurdle I didn’t want to cross.

    Brands that do this are following the professional services marketing model, where you have to submit your contact info in return for accessing a whitepaper. But at least you’re getting a useful report on something, as opposed to just viewing something you can watch on YouTube without having to opt-in.

  2. Rose Weisburd

    I know, right? I’ve been avoiding the Like button and anything to do with the Facebook Platform after my name and face appeared on the Washington Post website. It’s still there, and it’s kind of freaky, like that bathroom made of one-way mirror. I assume only my friends can see it, but can I know for sure?

  3. “Like” is really just a renamed version of “Become a Fan”. And Pages you are a “fan” of have always had their new posts show up in your News Feed.

    This isn’t really them specifically sending anything to anybody, it’s just the way the system was designed to work. The only real difference is that the wording of “Like” is simpler and easier for people to click on that the wording of “Become a Fan”. This is intentional. That was the whole point of the change, to make more people click that button.

    However, I think Facebook does need to take a stance on advertisers making content visible contingent on the status of the Like button. It’s deceitful and dishonest to do that sort of thing, even though it is possible to do. They should prevent that practice.

    But yes, any page you “like” will have its own status messages and updates show up in your news feed. You can still hide them, or stop liking them, to make them go away. This is not new, actually, and it is very useful for some pages. For my own blogs, for example, I have people who use this to be notified of my new posts by liking my Facebook Application, which mirrors them.

  4. its time to leave facebook. i did. and i’m impressed myself how little i miss it.

  5. Otto: The wording is precisely what the problem is. Liking/thumbs-upping/digging all have expected behaviors, and giving advertisers ad space in your feed isn’t one of them. I expect that rating something will show my friends what I like and contribute to ranking of the video/page/whatever and surface more interesting content to the top. The new wording is purposely unclear and that’s dishonest.

  6. Where’s the surprise here? Shouldn’t we just ‘look before we Like’? As you would connecting to a person? If you don’t like what they do on Facebook, then don’t Like. Or, if you Like and find you don’t like it, then drop them. i.e. vote with your feet – brands will soon adapt to what’s best – or they become the losers. Sorry, don’t really see this as an ‘abuse’. What do you expect from Nike? Flowers?

  7. Well, you can always “Dislike” the page after watching the video.

    And there’s this site that shows everything on Facebook that you have to like to see. It’s called “Bypass Facebook Fan Pages”. Check it out:

  8. I think that even the “Dislike” option will trigger the news feed. The best thing to avoid it is not to rate at all when you have no intention of rating it.

  9. I strongly disagree with the message conveyed in this post. If you “like” a page (especially a brand’s corporate Facebook Page) it’s because you are willing to receive updates and you actually like that brand.

    You are interested in viewing the information they post and you like to receive updates. Hitting the “like” button is equivalent to “friending” someone on Facebook. You want access to their information and you accept the fact that they will eventually appear on your newsfeed (which is annoying in Nike’s case and in most of my friends’ cases – newsfeed is an annoying idea altogether).

    The main differences between spam and brand posts on your newsfeed are that:
    a) you choose to receive that spam by “liking” the pages you are interested in and ignoring others;
    b) if the newsfeed posts bother you, you just have to “unlike” (which takes about 2 seconds) the page and ban the “spam” forever