You’re gonna love this. And by love I mean be filled with rage. I started receiving emails from people today, frustrated that they could no longer set a specific tab as their default landing tab in Facebook. Everyone assumed it was a bug. It’s not.


UPDATE May 20, 10:45AM: Facebook has actually apologized and done a complete 180 in the last 12 hours and they have reversed this decision. I’m leaving the original post up for reference, but as of right now, they have reverted back to the original way it worked, where any page admin can set default tabs, regardless of the size of their fan base.

From their developer forums:

As of last night, we’ve removed the recently-added authentication requirement for setting custom landing tabs on Pages. The requirement was instituted as part of a Pages quality initiative, and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused to our developer and business community. We are re-investigating the situation, and will not make any further changes without first giving our community standard notice and lead-time.

Thanks for all your feedback,
Matt Trainer


Original Post:
According to this post on the Facebook Developer forums, Facebook has struck yet another critical blow to smaller companies who are trying to use the Facebook platform to grow their business without a lot of startup capital. The thread had started by someone asking why they could no longer edit the Facebook Fan Page settings to specify which application tab they wanted to set as the default landing page.

The Facebook platform is known for being exceptionally buggy, so most “me too”ers assumed it was a bug and patiently awaited a bug fix confirmation from Facebook. The question went unanswered for a day, until finally a Facebook employee dropped this bombshell.

Hello all,

We apologize for not messaging this earlier. Facebook recently made a change requiring that Pages be authenticated before enabling the ability to set a landing tab beyond Wall or Info. To be eligible for authentication, a Page must have greater than 10k fans or the Page admin must work with their ads account manager. If you are already working with an account representative, please contact that representative to begin the authentication process. If you do not work with an account representative, you can use this contact form to inquire about working with an account representative.

Also, for advertisers who donโ€™t have a representative or 10k fans, and want to run ads and land users on a specific tab, you can still do so with standard Facebook ads by making their Destination URL as the URL incl. your tab. Unfortunately, this currently will not work with “Fan” ads.

Thanks,
Matt Trainer

What this means is that Facebook Fan Page admins can no longer specify a default landing tab for their fan page UNLESS they have 10k or more fans, OR they “have an account manager”. Having an account manager sounds great, right? The thing is, you have to spend at least $10k in Facebook advertising before they’ll even talk to you, let alone give you an account manager. That contact form leads to the “how much money are you willing to spend with us” form, and if your answer is less than $10k, don’t expect them to help you.

So once again, the little guy gets screwed. It started in November with their charges to their contest/promotional guidelines, which were also rolled out quietly with little or no notification to developers or users, which dictated something very similar. Certain types of promotions now have to be approved by an account manager. Only you don’t get an account manager unless you spend upwards of $10k in media buys.

Note that it appears as though this is only effective moving forward. If you’ve already set a default tab on your Facebook Fan page, they’re not going to take it away from you. At least not at this point. But as of yesterday, if you hadn’t already set a default tab, you won’t be able to do so without meeting one of the 10k requirements mentioned above.

I’m not even going to talk about the recent Facebook privacy issues. This isn’t the post for it, and honestly, I don’t have the energy to open that gigantic can of worms right now. But with those recent changes on top of this, I have to ask WTF they are thinking over there. Fuck you, Facebook.

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Iโ€™m a tech geek/dev/infosec-nerd/scuba diver/blacksmith/sword-fighter/crime fighter/ENTP/warcrafter/activist. I'm the CTO at Mass Mosaic and the CEO of Grokability, Inc. in San Diego, CA. Tweet at me @snipeyhead or read more...

  • This is ludicrous – there are a lot of fan pages that are massively successful yet never have a chance in hell of attracting 10K fans let alone dropping $10K on advertising.

    Way to go Facebook, you've just managed to piss off a whole new group of users.

  • You're not kidding. Every week it's something new. I honestly have to wonder if they've lost their fucking minds.

  • Well, that means I gotta convince 9924 people to become a fan asap. Sigh.

  • I know – it's terrible. It's terrible for owners of fan pages, and it's terrible for fb developers. Why would a client pay me (or my agency) thousands of dollars to create a custom landing page experience when you can't set a landing page anymore? The developers that are hearing about this are pretty pissed, but I'm not holding my breath on FB fixing this anytime soon. ๐Ÿ™

  • kilted_alex

    I was wondering what the deal with this was – just setup a clients new “fan” page (oops old terminology there huh ๐Ÿ˜‰ and couldnt make the FBML the landing page. Facebook can go and TAFFARD in my humble opinion. They're rapidly becoming the Microsoft of social media … (And i don't mean that in a nice way neither!)

  • Is there a way that *could* have been meant in a nice way? lol

    Every time I try to sit down and write about the privacy crap they've recently pulled, I feel physically tired. I mean, I am physically tired normally because I don't sleep much, but the sheer magnitude of fuckery, the amount of explaining so people understand, and the frustration of the media seeming to think that the privacy issues end with “don't post stupid drunken photos on facebook” is overwhelming and I just don't even know where to start.

    I understand the need to monetize a product, and I'm 1000% okay with that – but you can monetize without throwing under the bus all of the small developers and companies that helped make you the biggest site on the internet in the process. If FB didn't have apps, do you think it would be nearly as popular as it today? Of course not. And who builds those apps? People like me – for free. Some of us may find ways to monetize, some don't – but ultimately, years later, developers are still completely fucked. If stuff doesn't work, or isn't documented, we have NOWHERE to go for help. Sure, you can post on the developer forums, but the dev forums are ALL questions, and rarely any answers. I'd have as much luck climbing to the top of the mountain I live on and screaming my question into the wind. In years as a developer, I don't think a single question I've ever posted has actually been answered on the forums. So we helped build this empire, and they still give us nothing – and then continue to take away whatever small things we did have.

    </rant>

  • I agree this is just one more in an endless string of ridiculosity that makes my existence as a developer a daily hell. It's always something. Shit that works today won't tomorrow. No notice. No explanation. No “our bad”.

    Lets roll out a bunch of new stuff even though we can't get the existing stuff to work.

    Even today, I have a tab where two cached images got magically resized by Facebook and broke the layout. http://bugs.developers.facebook.com/show_bug.cg

    That said, it does appear as I'm writing this that the default landing tab functionality has been restored. But for how long? And why still no mea culpa from Facebook?

    I've heard debates about “is Facebook Evil?”. My vote is for greedy and incompetent. Amoral? Maybe that too.

  • UPDATE: Facebook just did a complete 180 – they apologized and reversed their decision. From the forums:
    http://forum.developers.facebook.com/viewtopic….

    “Hello,

    As of last night, we've removed the recently-added authentication requirement for setting custom landing tabs on Pages. The requirement was instituted as part of a Pages quality initiative, and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused to our developer and business community. We are re-investigating the situation, and will not make any further changes without first giving our community standard notice and lead-time.

    Thanks for all your feedback,
    Matt Trainer”

  • Only hookers and pop stars (AKA hookers on MTV) have 10K fans. Facebook is like the Ombudsman of the Internet Apocalypse. I need to start a page you “like” when you think Zuckerberg should take his meds. This decision/announcement/retraction cycle has gotten way out of hand. Even I'm annoyed and I keep myself well medicated.

  • musikizme

    This is real cool, thanks dude

  • Toni

    Hey, something’s wrong about this:

    I am admin of a page categorized as “Brands & Products -> Website” which DOES have the possibility to choose a default landing page: this page has only 225 fans.

    I am admin of an other page, also categorized as “Brands & Products -> Website” which DOESN’T have the possibility to choose a default landing page! (and this page has 1720 fans)

    It makes no sense…
    Does anyone know some facebook form or email?

    • Toni

      And forgot to say:
      – no spending on advertisement for the first page with 225 fans (so no “account representative”).
      – some few euros spent daily on the page with more fans… but still no no “account representative”.

      So the “rules” they mentioned above are not true…
      In case somebody has some update about this problem, let us know!

      • Hi Toni – if you read the update at the top of the page, FB reversed their decision on needing an account rep about 24 hours after they announced it.

        That said, the inconsistent behavior you’re seeing between pages definitely sounds like a bug. You should probably open a bug report: http://bugs.developers.facebook.net/

  • MY leanding Tab don’t work /show….
    Can you help me?
    Thank you