Facebook is about to change the way it asks its users to connect to brands and celebrities on the site. Rather than ask people to "become a fan" of say, Starbucks or Lady Gaga, Facebook will instead let users click that they like the subject.
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 users more comfortable with linking up with a brand and will streamline the site.
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, chief executive 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" 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.
The world's largest online social network is known for constantly tweaking the way users experience the site. This often draws complaints, but more than half of Facebook's 400 million users log in every day.