Facebook is changing up the algorithm used to curate the News Feed in order to prevent posts that are considered “spammy” or “like-baiting” according to their blog post today.
The change is being made to reduce stories and posts that users have indicated they do not want to see in their News Feed. The Facebook changes target 3 specific types of posts: Like-baiting, frequently circulated content and spammy links.
“Like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive.
Since people often respond to posts asking them to take an action, this means that these posts get shown to more people and get shown higher up in News Feed. However, when people were asked to rate the quality of these stories they report that like-baiting stories are, on average, 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares. Over time, these stories lead to a less enjoyable experience of Facebook since they drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.
Today’s improvements will better detect these stories and help ensure that they are not shown more prominently in the News Feed than more relevant stories from friends and other Pages. This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares.
Frequently Circulated Content
People and Pages frequently reshare great content, but there are occasionally instances where photos or videos are uploaded to Facebook over and over again. Repeated content less relevant and people are more likely to complain about the Pages that frequently post them. Facebook’s early testing shows that by de-emphasizing these Pages from the News feed causes people to hide 10% fewer stories from Pages overall.
Some stories in News Feed use inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads. For instance, often these stories claim to link to a photo album but instead take the viewer to a website with just ads.
Facebook’s new algorithm measures how frequently people who visit a link choose to like the original post or share that post with their friends in order to better detect spammy links. The update’s early testing shows that the News Feed improvements to reduce these links has seen a 5% increase in people on Facebook clicking on links that take them off of Facebook – this is a big increase in the context of News Feed and is a good sign that people are finding the remaining content in their News Feed more relevant and trustworthy.
Will this affect my Page?
The vast majority of publishers on Facebook are not posting feed spam so should not be negatively impacted by these changes, and, if anything, may see a very small increase in News Feed distribution.
A smaller set of publishers who are frequently and intentionally creating feed spam will see their distribution decrease over the next few months. We’re making these changes to ensure that feed spam content does not drown out the content that people really want to see on Facebook from the friends and Pages they care about.