This is big news if your involved in the social media sphere in anyway. Facebook has modified its Edge Rank algorithm – turning the social media giant into a pay-to-play model. Basically, if you own a business page or any page for that matter, you can no longer reach all of your followers with a post. It’s estimated you only reach about 10-15% of your fans. If you want to reach more people you have to dig into your wallet. The age of ‘free’ publicity through Facebook is dead.

It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.

As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”

In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.

This is a clear conflict of interest. The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meant raking in nearly $1M a day.

The article goes on to say, “The Facebook Promote story is just now beginning to pick up speed and will soon reach critical mass. Have you tried posting anything to a friend’s Facebook wall in the last couple of days? Try it now and see what happens. If Google plays their cards right, they’ll be able to kick Facebook right in the teeth when they’re already reeling from a self-inflicted wound.” Continuing with, “I can sympathize with Facebook’s travails on the stock market and I can appreciate that they are providing a value—a great one, unprecedented, really—by connecting such a vast number of human beings in an electronic global village. But I can’t pay them $2000 a day and $672,000 a year for the exact same product that I was getting for free back in March!”

So what does this all mean? Only time will tell but our guess is that business will start looking towards other social media outlets to expand into. It certainly will make businesses think twice about what they are posting and if they feel it deserves to be ‘promoted’ with pay. Ch-Ch-Changes!