Facebook is Moving from Reviews to Recommendations

Facebook is currently in the process of revamping the review system for its Business Pages. The social networking giant has recently rolled out updates for Business Pages. Notable among these updates is the replacement of the 5-star review system with ‘Recommendations.’ The review system is still going to be relevant for a while, but Recommendations are all set to take the center seat when it comes to user feedback on Facebook Business pages. With this new feature, users will essentially give their rating as a ‘Yes/No’ answer, together with a written feedback and rich text such as photos.

Facebook Recommendations Example

How to add Facebook Recommendation for a business?

When you previously visited a Facebook page, you were provided the option of giving a 1-5 star rating. You also saw the option of ‘Write a Review’ to complement this rating. This has changed with Recommendations. When you visit a Business Page on Facebook now, the site displays ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ options to the left. These are displayed under ‘Do you recommend <Business Name>?’ When you choose either option, a dialog box opens where you can share your feedback in more detail. Facebook also provides additional options, such as photo-sharing and Rich Tags to make your recommendations more detailed.
  • Adding Rich Tags to Recommendations Rich Tags are pre-generated tags which you can use when giving a Recommendation. For instance, you may see positive tags like ‘Friendly Staff’, ‘Excellent Service’, ‘Best Coffee’ and ‘Pet Friendly’ for an eat-out place. Alternatively, you may see negative tags like ‘Unfriendly Service’, ‘Overpriced’, ‘Slow Service’ and ‘Noisy.’When you recommend a business place, you are presented with the positive tags. You can incorporate these tags when you are writing the detailed feedback in the dialog box. When you press ‘No’, effectively saying that you don’t recommend a business place, you are presented with the negative set of tags. The tags essentially allow you to provide more details about your experience. They also standardize your feedback in a way so that others reading the feedback can quickly glean the right information.
  • Photo-sharing for Mobile Recommendations If you are using Facebook on a mobile device, you also get the option of posting a photo with your recommendation. You can publish this photo together with the recommendation text to provide more visual and realistic feedback.

Reviews vs. Recommendations

Once the new updates are fully implemented, Facebook users can leave feedback only through Recommendations. However, the previous data from the Reviews is also expected to stay, although the Review option will no longer be available. With this change, the Facebook Page Score of a business page will be determined by both Reviews and Recommendations for now, as stated at Facebook help center, “A Page’s rating is based on multiple sources, such as the reviews and Recommendations people share about business Pages on Facebook.” In the long-run, Recommendations are expected to take over and become the main metric to reflect the standing of a page across Facebook as well as at other places such as Maps. When displaying recommendations for a given business, Facebook will first display the ones from a user’s closest friends and contacts. This enables the user to get a more focused peer feedback on a given business page and make a more fruitful decision.

How is this going to affect businesses?

It remains to be seen how the new Recommendations system is going to affect Business Pages. The replacement of a 1-5 star flexible rating system with a binary Yes/No means that users will leave more polarized feedback. They will either recommend a business or not recommend it. The good news is that recommendations will make it easier for users to leave feedback. It will also make it easier for other users to discover feedback. The relative ease of giving recommendations may also increase the number of users who leave feedback on an average basis. Businesses will need to look beyond the simple Yes/No recommendations to get the complete picture. This means that they will have to scour through the written feedback to get the complete picture. For reputation managers, this may translate into more headache but at the same time, it provides them with a more focused approach to studying customer feedback.

Where to find Recommendations?

So where can you find the Recommendations of a Business Page on Facebook? For now, the Recommendations are accessible through the ‘Reviews’ tab in the left-hand pane of a page. Yes, it still says reviews but once you click on it, you are presented with the user recommendations. The recommendations are categorized under two tabs which read ‘Most Helpful’ and ‘Most Recent.’ It is unclear what Facebook means with these criteria and we can expect more details as the feature rolls out for more pages. Since the feature has seen a limited roll-out, some Business Pages may not be able to see the Recommendations section yet.

Facebook determined to keep Recommendations Authentic

Fake reviews online are the bane of businesses. This is particularly true for fake Facebook reviews which can create a negative online profile for a Business Page. With Recommendations, Facebook is aiming at tackling this problem. The social platform vows that it will take measures to keep the new recommendations ‘authentic.’ To this end, Facebook is presenting business page owners with a number of options to report inauthentic recommendations. Users and page owners can alike report a recommendation for the following reasons:
  • Recommendation not relevant
  • Unfair recommendation
  • Nudity
  • Violence
  • Harassment
  • Suicide or Self-injury
  • Spam
  • Drugs
  • Hate Speech
With a more comprehensive list of reasons, it is now possible to more precisely report why a recommendation should be removed from the page. It also enables page owners to flag unfair or fake recommendations from competitors and other quarters. In order to report a recommendation, simply browse to the recommendation and click the three dots in the top right corner. Among the options, click ‘Give Feedback’ and follow the instructions provided subsequently.

More questions

For now, limited details are available regarding Recommendations. Facebook has rolled out the new review system for a limited number of Business Pages. Once the networking site releases it for the Business Pages at large, we can expect more details. Many questions abound right now regarding the new Recommendations. For instance:
  • How are new user recommendations going to exist side by side with the older review system? What will be the weighting of the two in the overall Facebook Page Score?
  • How is Facebook going to display the numerical representation of the recommendations? Will it be something like ‘980 people recommended this page’ or ‘980 people recommend this page, 200 do not recommend this page.’ Alternatively, it is possible that Facebook displays the positive recommendation metric as a percentage.
  • How will the new Recommendations system be compatible with the Google search results? After all, Google search routinely returns business results with 1-5 star ratings. Will there be a conflict between the Google’s style of review and the new Facebook recommendations?
Given the sheer influence and pervasive presence of Facebook in our lives, it is safe to say that Recommendations can trigger a new trend across the web. That is, if it clicks with the users and page owners on Facebook first. The success of the feature can truly herald a new era for the online review and feedback arena.

Your Thoughts

What do you think about the new review system? Do you think a binary Yes/No system of recommendations can better convey user feedback? As a Facebook user, would you prefer recommendations over the older 5-star rating system? Ultimately, your opinion as the user who uses Facebook, reads the reviews and writes them, matters. So let us know your thoughts as well as your experience with this new feature from Facebook.

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