By removing the ability to search fans by geographic region, Facebook just made it a little bit harder for news organizations to understand whether their Facebook pages are reaching their target audiences.
Facebook explained in June that it was removing the ability to join a regional network: "If you've ever created a group or event and set it so that only members
of a certain regional network could join, that group or event will now
become open to everyone."
This panics data people. "Everyone" is like "miscellaneous" or "all other." It's like putting bunches of important documents in manila file folders, all unmarked.
Ben Parr of Mashable thinks that this is Facebook's "attempt to make [its] platform more open – part of its Twitterification."
This change reinforces the need for news orgs to clearly define the objectives, target audiences and business models for each
of its Facebook groups or pages.
There's a difference (especially for local advertisers) between these two audiences:
1. "All people who live in [city name] who are interested in [city name] politics"
2. "All people interested in [city name] politics"
This difference may not be important. Every Facebook community needs to have its share of influencers, or people who have the most credibility within the group. Without influencers' participation, the Facebook page would die.
But influencers are influencers wherever they may live. You just have to know from the start who you're targeting. And you have to have some way of knowing – measuring – whether you're reaching them or not.