Facebook is tweaking its news feed algorithm again, this time to combat posts that contain “like-baiting,” duplicate content and “spammy links.”
Facebook says the algorithm change is in response to user feedback, and hopes to minimize the visibility of content the company considers “spammy.”
Included as spammy are posts that include “like-baiting,” a strategy that actively encourages users to Like, comment, or share content with friends to boost its circulation. Posts with more Likes get more visibility, so posts that actively seek that kind of engagement from users are gaming the system, Facebook wrote in a blog post.
Facebook found that stories that utilize the like-baiting strategy are “15% less relevant” than stories that achieve the same type of engagement organically.
Another type of content Facebook’s algorithm will now identify is posts that include “spammy links,” or links that bring users to a website full of ads or highly circulated content they’ve already seen. Facebook identifies these links by examining how users engage with the post after clicking the link.
For example, if a user clicks a spammy link, they are less likely to Like or comment on the post as a result. This is a sign from Facebook not to surface that post to other users.
Facebook is known for continually tweaking its news feed algorithm, and this update joins a number of other major updates the algorithm has added in the last six months to try and clean up the content on news feed. In December, Facebook updated the algorithm to surface more “high quality” content from news organizations while minimizing the prevalence of memes on the platform.
In February, Facebook made a subtle change intended to help brand and celebrities achieve more reach on the platform by surfacing their content to users who are not active followers of their Page.
Thursday’s change should not impact the majority of content publishers, the company wrote. (Unless, of course, they are posting spammy content.) In early tests, the company claims there has been an increase of five percent more link clicks that take users off Facebook.
In other words, the good content is more visible without all the spammy stuff getting in the way.