Facebook's making a small wording change with some potentially big implications. Now, instead of clicking a button that says "become a fan" to start following a given brand, users will simply have to "like" them.
According to an email obtained by MediaMemo, Facebook is alerting advertisers to the impending change by explaining that "Like" links offer "a simple, consistent way for people to connect with the things they are interested in … in fact, people click "Like" almost two times more than they click "Become a Fan" everyday."
The latter part is important – it means that the change could make it easier for brand advertisers to accumulate fans quickly. But it also means that users might not totally understand what they're opting in to. After all, becoming a fan means that you'll start receiving updates from the brand in your News Feed.
Beyond that, it still doesn't solve one of the main problems of Facebook's Fan wording – while there are many Pages on Facebook I'd like to follow — because they provide information I need or would like to access — I wouldn't necessarily call myself a "fan" of them (nor want my friends to think I am one). Perhaps that's why Twitter's "follow" wording still makes the most sense.
So, while this change looks to be good for brands, it remains to be seen if it will be good for users, or might even create more confusion. What do you think of the change? Let us know in the comments.
Update - Here's the doc from Facebook explaining the change, via Joffrey in the comments: