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Facebook Cleans Up the News Feed

Posted on 4.10.2014

The world’s largest social network is finally fighting against spam. In a recent announcement, Facebook notes that a series of improvements to its News Feed will reduce the type of content that people often report as “spammy.”

It is important to note that Facebook says the new updates should not have a negative impact on the majority of publishers. Rather, the updates target a smaller set of publishers who regularly create and post “feed spam.” If this is the case, publishers posting unique, quality content may even see a small boost in their distribution, which would be welcomed as many Page managers have been reporting a decrease in organic reach as of late.

Learn more about the updates, which target three types of spammy behavior, below:

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1. Like-Baiting

Facebook’s announcement defines like-baiting as explicitly asking readers to like, comment or share a post in order to receive more distribution than normal.

“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,” Facebook states in its announcement. “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 percent less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares.”

Facebook notes that the update will better detect like-baiting posts, however, the update will not impact Pages that are “genuinely” encouraging discussion among fans.

2. Frequently Circulated Content

With this update, Facebook is aiming to cut down content that uploaded repeatedly. According to the social network, people find frequently circulated content less relevant and are more likely to complain about Pages that regularly post this type of content. Moreover, Facebook notes that early testing of the social network “de-emphasizing” the Pages that post this type of content has resulted in users hiding 10 percent fewer stories from Pages overall.

3. Spammy Links

This update aims to reduce posts that trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads. According to Facebook, these stories often claim to link to a photo album but instead direct users to a website with ads.

To prevent this type of trickery, Facebook is detecting spammy links by measuring how frequently people who visit a link choose to like or share the original post. In early testing, the social network claims it’s seen a five percent increase in people clicking on links to take them off Facebook, which the company says is a sign that people are finding the content in their News Feed more relevant and trustworthy.

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