News & Views
Weeding out spammy marketers

“Like this post if you look forward to Friday every week.”

“Share if you love your parents.”

“Leave a comment and tell us your favourite flavour of milkshake!”

If statuses like this on Facebook drive you into a rage-filled frenzy, then here’s some good news. Facebook has officially recognised “like-baiting” and “frequently circulated content” as spam, and as of this week it will be taking measures to prevent such needy, irritating posts from appearing in your news feed.

“Frequently circulated content” is technically anything that has been liked and shared so many times that Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm keeps it above the fold, clogging your news feed and blocking other, potentially more interesting content from view.

“The ironic part is that many of the posts Facebook plans to scrub out became popular because users liked and shared them,” says Ellis Hamburger at The Verge. “In other words, it’s in many cases the fault of users for promoting spammy content.” Facebook is taking action as the site itself is often blasted by users for the proliferation of pointless, eye-rollingly transparent engagement bait, when in fact we should really be blaming the Pages and marketers who post it to begin with.

“The improvement we are making today better detects these stories and helps ensure that they are not shown prominently in News Feed than more relevant stories from friends and other pages,” Facebook explained last week. “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.”

Most accounts will be unaffected by these new penalisations: “The vast majority of publishers on Facebook are not posting feed spam so they should not be negatively impacted by these changes, and, if anything, may see a very small increase in News feed distribution.”

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