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Why did Facebook rush the new Fan page design?

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
10 March 2009

Those of you that regularly visit Facebook's fan pages will have noticed a big change last week, as Facebook changed the structure of these pages to bring in more user-like functionality. Sounds fair enough I'm sure you'll agree – and surely all in the interests of the brands who use the pages, who can now do a lot more things? But why have Facebook rushed this change out so quickly – what is the big hurry?

To give you a bit of context, I myself am an admin on around a dozen pages, and I only heard about the planned changes at the start of last week, via an external blog. When I logged in to see how Facebook were communicating the change with me and other page admins, I was told (via a message at the top of my pages) that the new design was coming, but not "yet" and I'd have time to make all the necessary changes to my pages before they were rolled out. 

However, fast forward just a couple of days and I logged in to find that Facebook had decided to rush the change through, and all pages had been automatically changed over to the new design. So what gives?

Whilst I as an admin may only be small-fry to Facebook, a quick look at some of the bigger (and presumably more important to Facebook) brands shows they clearly haven't had time to make their pages look nice in the new format either. Below is one good before-and-after example I've found – but you can find plenty more, with Apple Students being the most famous example. The new pages are based on the current user profile design – and subsequently seem to allow brands a lot less freedom to customise and brand the pages. You CAN choose to let users land on a certain tab – as AMP Energy have with their new page – but this isn't very clear from the instructions Facebook give you.

Fb-pages-1

Another strange change to the new layout is the loss of the "Browse more pages" link at the top, which encouraged users to browse through other popular pages. Presumably with the removal of this link Facebook are hoping people will find all the pages they want through search alone, or using their own advertising system… You CAN still get to the browse page, as well as what looks like a new page here – which reminds me a lot of the old groups homepage which has long-since disappeared. 

So why did Facebook rush in to this new design so quickly? Are you an admin of a Facebook fan page, and if so, what do you think of the new design?
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