Did you know that Facebook Notes is no more? You might have missed the announcement, which was only displayed as a message on the “Notes” tab on Pages. Starting from October 31, creating and editing notes will no longer be possible. However, any published notes will remain visible on your timeline, while unpublished drafts will be deleted.
Now, you’re probably not losing any sleep over this. After all, “Notes” wasn’t a widely popular publishing platform for most people. But did you know that it was once a crucial part of Facebook’s long-term strategy? Originally, the Notes feature was aimed at encouraging publishers to create original content. However, the idea ended up being a messy one right from the start.
The Facebook Content Strategy
About three years ago, I attended a meeting hosted by Columbia University. It was a tense gathering as Facebook executives tried to convince major New York City media companies to publish on their platform. But the publishers weren’t thrilled with Facebook. They felt that when Facebook republished their content, it resulted in the loss of subscribers and advertisers, posing a threat to their very existence.
At the time, Facebook promised these media outlets that publishing through tools like Facebook Notes would provide new monetization opportunities and attract millions of new subscriptions. However, deep down, both the publishers and I doubted how that could become a reality. It seemed like they were being scammed.
A year later, Facebook changed course and made it clear that it would not focus on being a news outlet after all. The company realized that being a news outlet without being held accountable for the accuracy of the news was a dangerous path to follow. Instead, Facebook shifted its focus to Facebook Groups, where controversial content faces less scrutiny.
Adios to Facebook Notes
For the past five years, I have used Facebook Notes to publish long-form content. The reason is simple – the Facebook algorithm discourages using external links that redirect users away from Facebook and its ads. To reach a wider audience with my ideas, I published everything on Facebook a few days after it appeared on my own site. I always wondered why more bloggers didn’t adopt this strategy.
Now that Facebook Notes is being discontinued, my blog content will rarely be seen on Facebook. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a significant loss for me. Facebook has never been a major channel for my work. It has always puzzled me why my Facebook friends enjoy my content on the platform but don’t subscribe to my blog. But that’s a story for another day.
However, for some organizations, especially nonprofits that rely on Facebook as a pseudo web page, the loss of Notes will be traumatic. Existing notes cannot be edited, so page managers will have to decide whether to leave outdated information posted or delete the posts altogether (if that option is available). Many organizations are losing a vital communication lifeline with their fans and donors.
Lesson: Don’t Build Your Content Homeroom on Somebody Else’s Platform!
The discontinuation of Facebook Notes may seem uncertain at first, but it’s likely due to the feature being an unused remnant of a failed strategy. Facebook, despite being around for a long time now, is still finding its way.
Recovering Your Notes
If you’re wondering how to access your previously-published Notes, here’s a simple process you can follow:
- Click the downward-pointing arrow on the top right corner.
- Go to Settings and Privacy.
- Click on Settings.
- On the left menu, click on Your Facebook Information.
- The first option is “Access your Information.” Click on View.
- Scroll down to find “Your Information” and click on “Your Activity Across Facebook.”
- Once you’re there, scroll down until you see the link for Notes and click on it.
This will bring up your activity log containing all your notes. You can click on each one to view its content.
Mark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant, as well as the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. Mark also hosts the Marketing Companion podcast, one of the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak at your company event or conference soon.