Facebook to Change Language from “Become a Fan” to “Like”

During the first week of April the news broke that Facebook was planning to change the language around Fan Pages from “Become a Fan” to “Like.” We previously posted on our blog about this to outline the change with our readers, to ensure that it is clear what changes are anticipated for your Facebook Fan Page, but wanted to re-post our explanation when the first instance of the wording change became public on some Facebook Fan Pages. On April 19 the first group of language changes were released on Facebook– not all users can see the differences yet and not all pages are different, so the change may take some time and occur in waves. We wanted you to know, first and foremost, not to worry! The change is purely in wording, and won’t affect the functionality of your Facebook Fan Pages at all.

Facebook already uses the term “Like” for users who are indicating their interest in their friends’ posts, feeds, pictures, and updates. In fact, Facebook has done research analyzing use of the “Like” function, and shown that users click the term nearly twice as often as they click to “Become a Fan” of any page. Maybe they’re like serial daters, more than happy to “like” all these brands but afraid of making the commitment of becoming a “Fan”. Facebook has stated that in changing the wording from “Become a Fan” to “Like,” they expect users to be more comfortable committing to use the word around brands and other Fan Pages. Facebook has also said that changing to “Like” from “Become a Fan” will help to streamline the site, so that users feel that indicating their interest in anything from a post to a page can be achieved in a universal language that they have already demonstrated comfort in using.

Similar to how Facebook users can declare that they “Like” Facebook newsfeeds, statuses, photos, and similar items, soon they will be able to state that they “Like” your Facebook Fan Page, instead of choosing to “Become a Fan.”

This could be great news for your Facebook Fan Page, making it easier to build your fan base, if the Facebook users are more comfortable committing to the “Like” button on your company profile over the previous “Become a Fan” button. Fans of your page can still be referred to as “Fans” but over time, the language on your Fan Page may evolve to “People who Like Us on Facebook.” Additionally, in newsfeed form, we will begin to see statements like “John Doe likes Wildfire Interactive,” instead of “John Doe became a Fan of Wildfire Interactive.” We can see, then, that the upcoming change is little more than some different language. In this way, you can expect to keep creating interesting and compelling promotions to engage with Facebook users in the same way you were before any changes were announced. When the new language does go live, our Wildfire Promotion Builder tool will be ready and configured with all the necessary wording updates. Brings a whole new meaning to the common saying, “…they like me! They really like me!”


22 Responses to “Facebook to Change Language from “Become a Fan” to “Like””

  1. 1 hannah April 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    this is not a good move! i may “like” a lot of things on facebook, sometimes because i actually like it, and sometimes because i want to bookmark so i can go look at it later; because as i’m sifting thru posts from the day, and i click on someone’s post, i lose my place in reading today’s posts and have to start over from the beginning of the most recent posts… NOW just because people are more apt to click on something saying they like it, doesn’t mean they need it showing up in their news feed as a fan page… i like plenty of things on here, and am fond of a lot, i may “like” that some band band did something or another, but i don’t want to “like” that they did that or “like” them enough to be a “fan” of them…Like, and being a fan are completely different!! I personally don’t want a lot of fan pages, and there is a reason you can “like” a post… and “become a fan” of something, such as sleeping in, or what have you…. just because a lot of people really like chocolate, doesn’t mean you should cover everything in chocolate!!! I am not going to stop using facebook over this, but the “like” thing is only about a year or so old, leave it alone… fan pages should remain what they are, fan pages… just because i like sleeping doesn’t mean i want to read posts from a fan page about sleep every day. i am a fan of some great bands and i don’t mind hearing their latest news. because i don’t just “like” them, i am a “fan” of them… that is what being a fan is all about. I am happy to say that I am a fan of The English Beat. I don’t just like them, I love them dearly, not only as people, but love their music, and that is part of what makes me a “fan”. there are a lot of useless fan pages on facebook, i can imagine there’s probably a fan page for tube socks… but as it might be silly to say, yay!! i like tube socks, I don’t want to hear all about them in my live feed. And when you becomes a fan it shows up in your friend’s news feeds as well… so and so became a fan of the english beat… now that’s something to “like”… if people want to have fan pages for their socks and underwear, you should let them.. now i think you’re just gonna confuse them… OK.. i know what I’ve said isn’t gonna change ANYTHING!!! but at least i said it!

    • 2 Geoff Jackson April 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      I think hannah has a point, Facebook are far too prone for messing about with usability, design, layout, structure and functionality far too often, more often than not, annoying millions of members in the process.

      Just as everyone is getting used to the new changes they have made, they come along and make another substantial change to go and confuse everyone all over again.

      The whole point of members feeling “comfortable” using a “universal language they have already shown comfort using” to encourage more members to “Like” a page…???? What a load of absolute rubbish!

      Become a fan is exactly that, becoming a fan of a public figure, business, band etc (which is all fan pages should be for anyway except thousands break the rules), “liking” a fan page is a totally different concept to liking a post, comment, video, photo and if anything, this whole ‘tosh’ about generating a universal language that everyone is familiar with throughout the site is just going to actually confuse members now.

      The website usability team at Facebook is horrendous.

    • 3 Paulski April 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm


      dont like it either..

  2. 4 Website Design April 13, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I think this is a great idea! I have never been a fan of the term fan for a page for my business. I am not a fan of other businesses, but I do like other businesses and the way that they operate, the products or services they offer etc.

    I am pleased that Facebook decided to research this term and the impacts it has on pages. That is smart.

    • 5 Maya Grinberg April 13, 2010 at 7:44 am

      Thanks for your feedback– we can definitely also understand how it might be easier to declare that you “like” a brand or a page, but harder to commit to the term “fan.” It will be very interesting to see if there are indeed huge rises in Page “Likes” after the change occurs.

      • 6 JA Cusick April 23, 2010 at 5:23 am

        I find it odd that you reply to praisers of the LIKE change but not to the disgruntled. Obviously, you are not a savvy marketer.
        Good practice rule #1: SHORT but to the point. So. When reading return comments to our ‘LIKERS’, isn’t it quicker to say ‘We love our Fans’ than We like “People who Like Us on Facebook.”
        Your data indeed should show that people use the LIKE button a lot in the comment streams. But, did you ever ask WHY????
        I hit that button 20 + times a night as I surf my friends on Fbk. Why?
        I’d spend my life on Fbk if I commented on every stream. Instead, I do want certain streams to know I’ve been there and LIKE the conversation even though I have nothing more of value to add.
        But, as an Admin. for a Business FAN page there is a huge difference and this ignorant change is disappointing at best.
        LIKE is like saying, ‘eh!’ To become a Fan IS a commitment. It lets a biz know, you rally ’round them, you support them and most probably, have used their product.
        WILDFIRE supports this change? Well of course! THEY stand to gain everytime someone wants to PAY for advt.
        No, is is NOT a good change. Just another group of employees who feel the need to prove their worth by CHANGE! Too bad

      • 7 Maya Grinberg April 23, 2010 at 8:05 am

        Hey JA,

        I try to reply to everybody I can with constructive feedback of some sort. Wildfire certainly supports the change, because we work very closely with Facebook and believe in the reasoning that people will become more comfortable with liking pages than fanning them. This IS a good thing, because you retain your audience– the change didn’t eliminate any functionality, so you as a business page admin will still have your wall posts show in your Fans news feeds and be able to message them as before, and if you have more of them, everybody wins.

        Have a great day!

  3. 8 Matt April 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I personally prefer the term like but I think less people will actually like a page than they do a specific post.

    You say that there is no functionality change – I disagree.. we used to be able to see who our entire fan base was, i.e. each page member. That functionality has now been removed and facebook will only show 6 members of the page by random and any of your friends that are members in a separate box. Or am I missing something… can it still be done?

  4. 10 Brenda Thomson April 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Love the change as I never felt comfortable with asking people to become fans – felt a bit presumptuous. I prefer to talk about building a community of like minded people. I can see the possibility that if more people hit the “like” button then more people will also decide to stop “liking” you when they don’t like what shows up in thier news feed. I guess the onus there is right where it should be – on delivering top value stuff to your community of likers.

    • 11 Maya Grinberg April 21, 2010 at 11:56 am

      Hey Brenda,
      Thanks for writing in! We’ll have to see what happens when Facebook users can “like” everything, from photos, to posts, to brand news and pages. But we do also think that it might be much easier to commit to “liking” something that declaring that you’re a fan. “Like like like…” I almost feel like a valley girl. 😀


  5. 12 Note to Beautiful Self April 21, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Very interesting to see the varying types of feedback on the topic. While it may be easier to get people to “Like” my clients business instead of becoming an actual “Fan” – what commitment do people who just “like” your business have? At least with the Fans you knew you had a captive audience. Very interesting indeed.

    • 13 Maya Grinberg April 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

      Hey there!
      Great comment! For all intents and purposes and as far as we know, there is no functionality change involved in these changes. In this way, you can expect to retain the same “captive audience” as you had the first time around. But you’re definitely right, time will tell. But the surest way to make sure you’re doing your best to keep your audience captivated is to engage them with interactive outreach, promotions, or campaigns, like you can build with Wildfire!


  6. 14 Atin April 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    It’s a great move. It is going to make users become more fluid in their approach to become fans (lik-ers) of a page now. I regularly come across pages that I instinctively (like), but stop short of clicking the ‘fan’ button because in the back of my mind, I do not want my friends to observe that I am a ‘fan’ of this certain page – all because ‘fan’ is a loaded word.

    Being a fan to me means being committed to a cult or a figure or a great brand or something which is very meaningful to me. It’s too heavy and burdensome though for 99% of Facebook Pages. ‘Like’ is light and airy and it will definitely make me press a lot more ‘like’ buttons now for a lot of pages! Page owners will now see their memberships increase rapidly and that’s a good thing.

    • 15 Maya Grinberg April 22, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Hey Atin,

      Thanks for your message– those are our thoughts too! Definitely a good way to describe ‘fan’– a loaded word with different meanings to different people. But how many ways can you like something? You either like it or ya don’t, right? Hopefully this change will indeed mean that people will begin to commit to liking fan pages.


  7. 16 Andrius April 21, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    is it me, or i see also the function – “write to all of your fans” that has dissapeared?

  8. 18 Mike Konicek April 22, 2010 at 4:54 am

    My Voucher Codes http://www.facebook.com/myvouchercodes used to get 150-300 new fans a day using customised facebook widget on website myvouchercodes.co.uk as well as by running weekly competitions through wildfire. After changes to widget to “like”, we are getting 30-50 new fans (likes) a day. So I would love to say that I like this change, but unfortunately, it means like we are loosing 80-90% of new fans / day.

    If it would happen in different parts of our business, it would be full blown catastrope. I just hope that users will get used to it and subscriber numbers will go up again.

    • 19 Maya Grinberg April 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for writing in! Yes, hopefully the drop off you were seeing is only temporary, like a growing pain as users get familiar with the changes. However, since you are running weekly competitions with Wildfire, you can try running a different format than the one you usually pick to run, and maybe that way kickstart some of your fans into interacting, by showing them something new.

      Let me know if you have any questions or need any help!
      Have a great one,

  9. 20 Grace April 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I don’t really like the new change. I mean, facebook does make a lot of those. But I know it doesn’t change the function of the button. But for some reason, I think that, so and so became a fan of socks sounds better than so and so liked socks. Becoming a fan of something wasn’t a commitment. It’s a website where you became a fan. Doesn’t mean you are super committed to it. It wasn’t a commit to button. But hey, I guess facebook will keep on making changes. :/

    • 21 Maya Grinberg April 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      Hey Grace,

      Thanks for your comment, we love it when our readers write in. We definitely agree that changes will always happen, and here at Wildfire we are constantly adapting to those changes to we can serve a great product to our customers!

      Best regards,

  10. 22 D May 6, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I actually like the “Like” button. I have gotten more people to join my facebook business page since the change. Kind of odd, but I guess people feel more comfortable liking a page than committing to being a fan. However, I understand both sides, but for me it’s working.

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We are a group of innovative developers, designers and marketers with a passion for creating a social media marketing platform that helps companies & agencies to engage the millions of social network users. Our platform allows you to easily grow and cultivate your fans & followers.

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