Good afternoon,

Facebook is being urged to help UK businesses reopen safely and therefore save both lives and livelihoods through the recovery phase of coronavirus pandemic.

The social media company has been asked to temporarily suspend its practice of limiting the reach of posts by businesses as firms seek to re-open safely after lockdown.

Facebook has been limiting the organic, or free, reach of corporate posts for a number of years, instead offering companies the chance to pay to reach a larger audience.

Not-for-profit business organisation, Aberdeen Inspired, fears this practice could put people at risk as companies try to communicate safety and social distancing messages as they reopen.

The business improvement organisation, which is led and funded by businesses in the city, has written to Facebook asking that the tech firm consider giving firms 100% reach “for as long as Covid-19 remains a threat to both lives and livelihoods in the UK”.

As a consequence of changes to the platform’s 2018 algorithms most find their messages are reaching just 10-20% of their followers, with Facebook looking for money to reach the rest.

For a business with 40,000 followers, this can mean just 5,000 people are seeing some of their content, messages and promotional material.

Many local radio stations, newspapers and commercial television channels have been offering help – including free advertising – to support businesses. Facebook has yet to follow suit.

We shall keep you updated with any progress regarding this possible intervention for businesses.