Facebook To Penalize Tacky Posts That Beg For Likes And Shares, Cleaning-Up News Feeds

Facebook is a mixed bag, isn't it? On one hand, Facebook is a wonderful platform for keeping in touch with old friends and family members when you're separated by distance. Through the wonders of social media, you can stay plugged into the lives of people who might otherwise be lost acquaintances. But in order to do that, you have to wade through a lot of...stuff (feel free to substitute a different "s" word). You know, annoying posts that plead for Likes and Shares. That's not the only problem with Facebook, though it is one with high visibility. The good news is, Facebook is tweaking its algorithm to suppress these types of "spammy" posts.

"People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions. For example, 'LIKE this if you’re an Aries!' This tactic, known as 'engagement bait', seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait," Facebook stated in a blog post.

Facebook Baiting
Click to Enlarge (Source: Facebook)

It remains to be seen how effective this will be, though we are optimistic. Facebook said it scrutinized hundreds of thousands of posts to shape the machine learning model that is tasked with detecting different types of engagement bait. As a result, posts that use such tactics will supposedly be shown less, leaving your feed less cluttered so you get back to the types of posts that matter—food posts and politics.

"Additionally, over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed," Facebook added.

Demotions on the Page level will roll out over the course of several weeks, as Facebook wants to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait tactics. Or in other words, they are getting a grace period to clean up their posts, before Facebook steps in and does it for them.

"Publishers and other businesses that use engagement bait tactics in their posts should expect their reach on these posts to decrease. Meanwhile, Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach," Facebook said. "Page Admins should continue to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics."

Sounds good to us.