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Facebook takes aim at News Feed spam

Facebook is pushing down like-baiting, reposted and spammy content

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 11, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3641

Facebook is on a mission to clean up your News Feed. First it got rid of memes, now you can say goodbye to spam.

The company announced on Thursday that it would be improving the experience by targeting spammy posts that beg for likes and link to spam websites.

"The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important and relevant to them," Erich Owens, Software Engineer, and Chris Turitzin, Product Manager, wrote in a blog post.

"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."

The first type of post that is getting the boots are those that engaged in "like-baiting," a.k.a. "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."

Because people actually respond to these posts (really? they do?) they move up on the News Feed because that’s what happens when a post gets more action. Now, Facebook will make sure that those posts don't wind up at the top of user feeds anymore.

Second on the list is content that is reshared over and over, which, as you might expect, can get really annoying after a while.

"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," said Owens and Turitzin.

Last come "spammy links," which is exactly what it sounds like: you think you're clicking on a link to an article or album, but instead you get redirected to a page full of ads and spam. 

The company says it can detect these links by measuring how frequently people on Facebook who visit a link choose to like the original post or share that post with their friends."

Some publishers may grumble about some of these restrictions, especially the link-baiting one, which does walk a fine line. Honestly, though, I'm happy that Facebook is taking some action here.

This is just the latest move made by Facebook to improve the News Feed experience.

In December, the company announced that it would be highlighting "high quality content" over other types, including memes.

Then, last month, Facebook finally got around to updating the visual look of the Feed, making images larger, and changing the color of the right and left hand columns to gray, in order to highlight the actually feed of content in the middle.

(Image source: newsroom.fb.com)


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