Has your reviews page been the victim of a Facebook internal error?
Several justly disgruntled medical practices have seen their Facebook ratings unexpectedly plummet to zero. For one rater8 client, this meant more than 1,500 positive reviews evaporated overnight.
The good news is, most pages rebound within a couple of days. The bad news is, this issue recurs (alongside others) as Facebook continues to fumble its transition to a yes-or-no “recommendations” system.
Prior to 2018, Facebook encouraged users to leave ratings like any other review site: on a 1- to 5-star scale. Amidst pressure from other tech giants to differentiate—and with an eye to social trends—the network now asks users whether or not they recommend a business. Following a yes or no click, the user is asked what they enjoyed or what they were dissatisfied with.
The changeover was not without hurdles. Facebook often rolls out features to some users before others in an attempt to test whether they will succeed. For people viewing the same Facebook page side-by-side on two computers, this A/B testing is often written off as a technical glitch.
In 2018, however, the tactic led to many businesses directing customers to leave star ratings where none could be entered. Yet others discovered their review page missing entirely. Facebook communicated little about the testing until recommendations were fully rolled out.
A lot has changed since 2018, and the platform now calculates the “star rating” score as an undisclosed combination of legacy star ratings, “yes” recommendations, “no” recommendations, as well as review text character count and possibly other factors.
This makes it impossible to know what actually goes into the star rating score—or whether it’s an accurate representation of consumer feedback.
One thing’s for certain: a page which had more than 50 recommendations yesterday should not have zero today. As if to add insult to injury, many pages still have a wealth of reviews for users to peruse which are simply not rolled up into the overall score.
Small business owners across the web have lamented a lack of support in resolving the issue; and Facebook has often claimed the glitch is already fixed. It’s possible that the platform is testing new features again, and there has been speculation that Facebook intends to do away with the star rating feature altogether.
Only time will tell whether we’ll see consistency from the site as a platform for review generation. If your page suddenly displays zero stars and zero reviews, you have allies in the call for a solution.