Facebook’s Next Trainwreck Waiting-To-Happen: “Community Pages”

Picture 2Ok, so do this.

Go to http://facebook.com and do a search for "JC Penney."  Go to the #1 result.  It's a page here.

Now go to Facebook and do a search for "JCPenney." Go to that #1 result. It's a totally different page here.


Back in April, Facebook released a new feature called "Community Pages," which are touted as "a new type of Facebook Page dedicated to a topic or experience that is owned collectively by the community connected to it.  Just like official Pages for businesses, organizations and public figures, Community Pages let you connect with others who share similar interests and experiences."  

You can learn more about Facebook Community Pages here.

Reasonable idea, horrible implementation.  The main difficulty is that, structurally, both types of pages look pretty similar.  Big logo thing in the upper left hand corner, tabs across the top, and generally the same kind of layout.

The implications are manifold:

  • Since both "official" and "community" pages show up in Facebook's search results side-by-side, it's impossible to know which type of Page you're clicking through to until you do it.
  • Pages are not always ranked by number of members, so more popular pages may get pushed down out of the results.
  • Unless a person is paying close attention, it's not apparent at first blush what type of page you are on.  Confusion abounds.  This is made worse by the fact that it appears that the "unofficial" community pages seem to be usually set up with the "official" logo of the organization.  So, you'd come here, see the JCP logo and think you're in the right spot.  But you're not.

Some other good analysis of the issue:

Caveat emptor.

photo: hubpages, "the crash at crush"

5 Replies to “Facebook’s Next Trainwreck Waiting-To-Happen: “Community Pages””

  1. Interesting article, one thing I don’t think was made clear however was that the issue of multiple pages for a single brand was a problem before “community” pages were created. Back in February of 2010 when a Sea World trainer was killed by an Orca in their Orlando Park, I went on Facebook to try to find the Sea World page to see how the public would respond to the incident (as well as to see how Sea World would react).

    I found a dozen or so pages dedicated to Sea World. Some had misspellings in the titles or other obvious signs that they were NOT run by Sea World, three pages however seemed to be legitimate, yet I knew that only one of them was the actual Sea World page. After going back to all three pages, I was able to discern that one of the pages was being moderated and that the wall function was being turned off at the end of the business day (when it could no longer be moderated) that was the “Official” Sea World page, but again, you couldn’t tell by looking at it and that page wasn’t the first in any search.

    Now what? – Well, after reading this article I did another search for “Sea World” there are now OVER 500 pages! Great solution indeed!

  2. Chai, great points. It would seem to me that Facebook could do something similar to Twitter’s “Verified Account” badge, to at least give some visual indication that a Page was an “official” page.

    Also great point about Sea World. Spot on.

  3. Have you tried adding career information to your profile? FB creates a page for each entry. Even worse, each job title. For example, if you entered Partner, My Big Company a community page would be created for the word Partner and another for My Big Company. Utterly worthless.

    The Partner page, is, of course, pulling any comment with the word Partner in it. Daft.

  4. I heard some rumblings about this awhile ago. A lot of brands and companies have spent a lot of time building up their pages, and now Facebook is trampling all over those efforts. REALLY bad implementation, once again, as per usual. grr.

  5. I heard something about community pages but never understood why they were being created. Sounded like a good idea but just not implemented right. Facebook is all over the place these days.

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