The Associated Press

byCharlie Nash18 Dec 20170

Facebook will reduce the spread of “engagement bait” posts that “beg” for likes, comments, and shares, according to a report.

The Verge reported on Monday, “Starting this week, Facebook will begin demoting spammy or ‘engagement bait’ posts that goad users into taking actions like sharing, tagging, liking, or commenting.”

“Posts which prompt users to ‘Tag a friend who likes to nap!’ seem popular because they game Facebook’s algorithms, which causes Facebook to prioritize those posts in more News Feeds,” the report explained, claiming Facebook “will implement stricter demotions for Pages that repeatedly bait engagement in a few weeks to give publishers time to adapt.”

Posts that ask for help, advice, recommendations, and donations will not be affected by the crackdown.

Facebook announced the update in a blog post on Monday, where they claimed to have received complaints about “spammy posts.”

“People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions,” Facebook declared. “So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.”

To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.

Additionally, over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed. We will roll out this Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts. Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.

Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update.

Instead, we will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity. Similar to our other recent efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences, we want to reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.

In their blog post, Facebook also warned “engagement bait” pages that they “should expect their reach on these posts to decrease,” while “Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach.”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington and Gab @Nash, or like his page at Facebook.

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