Here’s something that will likely send a chill through many a social media manager: That’s right, Facebook appears to be running a test which would see the ‘Share’ button removed from News Feed posts, replaced with a ‘Message’ button instead. The new format would likely see a reduction in public post sharing, further shrinking already low organic reach numbers.

And while the option does move in line with broader trends shifting towards private messaging, the impacts could be significant – if, in fact, Facebook does go ahead with a broader push. On that front, we don’t have a lot to go on as yet.

But as noted, it does make some sense. Various reports have shown that private messaging is on the rise, with the big four messaging apps now seeing more active usage than the big four social platforms. That trend can be traced back to the rise of Snapchat – while, initially, the concept of being able to share everything publicly on social media was exciting, providing anyone with a platform from which to share their views, as the medium has evolved we’ve also become increasingly aware of the dangers and potential negatives of public sharing.

This is most notable in regards to publicly recorded perspectives being used against us. We saw a high profile example of this recently in Sarah Jeong, a writer at The Verge who’s been appointed to a role at The New York Times.

Upon the announcement, some of Jeong’s old tweets, which expressed controversial views, were uncovered as part of a campaign to discredit the NYT and Jeong herself. What you post on social media stays forever, and can be seen by your parents, your grandparents, and anyone else who might care to take a look. Read more from…

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