Facebook recently announced they will be rolling out an update to their News Feed designed to reduce the appearance of the kinds of posts users frequently flag as spam.
The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important and relevant to them… Today we are announcing a series of improvements to News Feed to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see.
According to the announcment, many of these spammy posts are published by Pages in an attempt to manipulate the News Feed and get more organic exposure than they normally would.
The update specifically targets three broad categories of spammy behavior. They are as follows:
When a post explicitly asks users to like, comment or share the post to increase organic reach it is considered “like-baiting.” Since users tend to respond to the call to action of liking, commenting on, or sharing the post, these like-baiting posts get shown to more users and receive a higher placement in the News Feed.
Facebook has conducted surveys with reports showing users find like-baiting posts to be, on average, 15% less relevant than other posts with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares. Facebook believes these less relevant posts hinder the user experience since content from friends and Pages that people really care about are pushed further to the bottom.
The update Facebook is rolling out works to better detect like-baiting posts and helps ensure they are not drowning out more relevant stories from friends and other Pages. Facebook says this update will initially focus on Pages that are known to outright ask for likes, comments and shares. Pages that are considered to be genuinely trying to generate engagement with their audience will not be hurt by this update.
Frequently Circulated Content
Facebook says there are occasionally instances where Pages upload and post the same media over and over again. As a result of user feedback, Facebook’s update to the News Feed will de-emphasize Pages that do this. Early testing shows people hide 10% fewer stories from Pages when this update is in place.
Facebook cites instances where Pages claim to link to something, like a photo album, but instead the user is taken to a website with just ads. The latest update will reduce cases of these spammy links surfacing in a user’s News Feed. Facebook determines spammy links by measuring how frequently people on Facebook like the original post or share that post with their friends after clicking on a link.
Who will be affected?
Facebook says the majority of Pages are not posting News Feed spam so they should not be negatively impacted by these changes. If anything, Pages may even see a very small increase in News Feed distribution.
On the other hand, Pages that frequently and intentionally post News Feed spam can expect to see their organic reach decrease over the next few months.