Facebook is about to change the way it asks its users to connect to brands on the site. Instead of asking people to "become a fan" of companies such as Starbucks, Facebook will let them click on a button that indicates they "like" the brand.
Facebook already lets people show that they like comments or pictures posted on the site, and it says users click that term almost twice as much as they click "become a fan." Facebook says changing the button will make them more comfortable with linking up with a brand.
Facebook had no immediate comment about the move Tuesday, but a memo from the company to advertisers about the change has been widely circulated online.
Businesses use Facebook pages, which are free to create, to connect with their customers and promote their brands. Facebook makes money from the advertisements these companies often use to draw users to their pages. The average user becomes a fan of four pages each month, according to Facebook.
"The idea of liking a brand is a much more natural action than (becoming a fan) of a brand," said Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, which helps companies establish their brands and advertise on social networks such as Facebook. "In many ways it's a lower threshold."
But while it might seem to be less of a commitment to declare that you "like" say, Coca-Cola than to announce you are a fan of it, the meaning essentially would stay the same: Your Facebook friends would see that you clicked that you "like" a page, and such pages would still be listed on your Facebook profile for anyone to see.
Facebook did not say whether the change will apply to all pages, such as those for celebrities or musicians — where the term "fan" is still appropriate — or just brands.
The world's largest online social network is known for constantly tweaking the way users experience the site. This often draws loud complaints, but Facebook continues to draw millions of new fans. More than half of its 400 million users log in every day.
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