Facebook’s latest newsroom post is titled “News Feed FYI: Cleaning Up News Feed Spam“.
I’ve already got a bad feeling about this. Without even reading another word I know that this is going to involve blocking even more Page posts before they hit the News Feed. Let’s see if I’m right.
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. Many of these stories are published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would.
Here’s Facebook taking a new tactic. Some Page publishers are out to get you but we’re going to protect you from their evil ways.
But there are only two ways for a Page post to hit a person’s News Feed. Either the person liked the page, in which case they can just unlike it if they don’t approve of the “spammy” posts. Or two, the Page paid to boost the post in which case Facebook’s own advertising tool is at fault.
Am I missing something here? Is there a covert way to force Page posts to show up in a News Feed? Someone please tell me.
Facebook goes on to explain the types of posts they’re now gunning for. First up is the dreaded “Like-baiting“.
“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.
People often respond to posts asking them to take an action, and this means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. However, when we survey people and ask them 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.
Next is Frequently Circulated Content
People and Pages on Facebook frequently reshare great content, but people tell us there are occasionally instances where photos or videos are uploaded to Facebook over and over again. We’ve found that people tend to find these instances of repeated content less relevant, and are more likely to complain about the Pages that frequently post them. We are improving News Feed to de-emphasize these Pages, and our early testing shows that this change causes people to hide 10% fewer stories from Pages overall.
Finally, Spammy Links
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.
Will this affect your Page? Facebook says, probably not since the majority of Page posters play by the rules. But if you don’t play by the rules then you’re going to have your distribution decreased – which is as it should be.
My issue is that we’re still talking about reducing the amount of content that shows up in the Feed. When I saw this post, I thought I was reading the date wrong. This can’t be another new announcement about cuts to Pages? Why bother dangling the carrot anymore. Just put a total ban on non-paid Page posts in any News Feed – that’s where we’re headed so why make us wait for that final shoe to drop.