There’s a new “promote your post” feature (ah-hem, I use that term lightly) on Facebook for cold, hard cash.

If you click “promote” next to your recently posted status, you’ll now get this dialogue box:

“Promote an Important Post”

Let’s say you were to pay to promote your new play (bc you’re an actor). Let’s say you have over 500 friends and want to make sure everyone in your network knows you are a part of this performance. That seems reasonable. And yes, $7 does seem somewhat inexpensive for online advertising.

But wait, it doesn’t state how long the post will be “promoted” nor how often your network will see it.

And furthermore, isn’t the whole point of social networking to reach out to your own, personal network? The one you’ve spent years building? We know that the more “friends” and “followers” and “likes” you have, the more powerful your social reach becomes, or so we thought…

In an article written by Australian technology journalist @ashermoses, he says:

Facebook is being accused of an underhanded bait and switch, with brands and even personal users now forced to pay for “promoted posts” to reach all of their “likers” and friends.

Evidence suggests that the algorithm that determines which posts appear in your News Feed, called EdgeRank, has been tweaked so that posts are visible for under 15 per cent of your connections unless you pay.

This seems awfully fishy to me. As someone who speaks to businesses about social media, I advocate organic growth (rather than buy lists), how to build audiences and become engaged with clients/customers with truthful conversations. If Facebook is now bribing us to pay for our posts seen, as a professional marketer I will simply go elsewhere, use my Klout to do so and be on my merry way.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Facebook start free-falling, and in fact this may already be happening based on the following article posted by Forbes yesterday (Nov 5, 2012): The Facebook Employee Stock Dump Is On:

PS: Google+ remains free. This seems like perfect time to start taking advantage of this social network.