Facebook announced a dramatic update to it’s news feed designed to limit the reach of pages and groups that violate it’s content policies. Facebook introduced a new algorithm signal focused on links that decides whether a site has authority and if not, will see it’s news feed reach diminished.
While Facebook uses partners such as the Associated Press to judge the validity of content, it announced a new automated approach that relies on inbound and outbound linking patterns to determine if a site linked by Facebook users is authoritative or not.
Facebook revealed that the Click-Gap metric is in use right now.
What is the Click-Gap Signal?
The Click-Gap signal is a measurement of the inbound and outbound link patterns of a site that is being linked out from Facebook. Facebook will reduce the reach of of a post if the number of links from Facebook are at a level that is higher than the link popularity of the site on the Internet.
This is an authority signal that will reduce the reach of articles published on Facebook.
This is how Facebook’s announcement explained it:
“This new signal, Click-Gap, relies on the web graph, a conceptual “map” of the internet in which domains with a lot of inbound and outbound links are at the center of the graph and domains with fewer inbound and outbound links are at the edges.
Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.”
This sounds like a form of statistical analysis. Any time you’re measuring a baseline for what represents normal in order to catch the outliers that are abnormal, that’s statistical analysis.
While Facebook didn’t use the phrase Statistical Analysis, the Click-Gap algorithm certainly sounds like statistical analysis.
Statistical Analysis has been a feature of search engine algorithms since at least 2005, possibly earlier. The use of statistical analysis by Google was formally announced at PubCon New Orleans in 2005.
Facebook Using Algorithms to Remove Content
Facebook announced that it will be using algorithms to automatically remove links to low quality content that is posted in groups. This algorithm will look at content posted in all groups, including private groups.
According to Facebook:
“…we identify and remove harmful groups, whether they are public, closed or secret. We can now proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.”
Facebook Group Admins Required to Police User Content
Facebook’s algorithms will consider what posts the Facebook group admins approve as a way to determine if a group will be shut down.
A Facebook group will be closed if an admin regularly approves content that is false, misleading or violates Facebook’s guidelines.
This effectively places the burden of policing member content on the shoulders of the admins. Private or secret groups will be removed if the admins approve misinformation or spam.
This is how Facebook explained it:
“Starting in the coming weeks, when reviewing a group to decide whether or not to take it down, we will look at admin and moderator content violations in that group, including member posts they have approved, as a stronger signal that the group violates our standards.”
Facebook Clickbait Will Lose Reach
Facebook’s news feed algorithm will limit the reach of content that Facebook determines is clickbait or misinformation.
According to the announcement:
“There are types of content that are problematic but don’t meet the standards for removal under our Community Standards, such as misinformation and clickbait….we’re using both technology and people to fight the rise in photo and video-based misinformation…”
News Feed Reach on Facebook
Clearly, improving inbound and outbound linking patterns on a website is important for making sure content is spread on Facebook. Sites with poor linking metrics will be considered inauthentic and lacking in authority and will see their news feed reach minimized.
Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author