Facebook to demote posts that ‘bait’ for shares, likes

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Facebook is set to demote posts that beg users for comments, likes and shares, the social media giant has announced.

The tactic, known as ‘engagement baiting’, takes advantage of Facebook’s algorithms to cause those posts to appear in more News Feeds.

Starting this week, the firm will begin punishing engagement baiters by stopping what it describes as ‘spammy’ posts from reaching more users.

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Facebook is set to demote posts that beg users for comments, likes and shares. Some people and pages 'bait' users to interact with their posts by goading them to share (right) or 'react' (centre and left) with it to spread the post to more News Feeds

Facebook is set to demote posts that beg users for comments, likes and shares. Some people and pages ‘bait’ users to interact with their posts by goading them to share (right) or ‘react’ (centre and left) with it to spread the post to more News Feeds

WHAT IS ENGAGEMENT BAITING?

Some Pages or people on Facebook use posts that beg for likes, comments or shares to reach a wider audience.

For instance, posts may say ‘LIKE this if you’re an Aries!’ or ‘SHARE if you agree’.

The tactic, known as ‘engagement baiting’, takes advantage of Facebook’s algorithms to cause those posts to appear in more News Feeds.

Starting this week, Facebook says it will begin demoting pages that use the ‘spammy’ tactic. 

‘People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions. 

‘For example, “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!”,’ Facebook wrote in a blog post.

‘This tactic, known as “engagement bait”, seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach.

‘So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.’

The company said posts asking for help or recommendations like raising money for charity or asking for travel advice won’t be affected by the update.

The tactic, known as 'engagement baiting', takes advantage of Facebook's algorithms to cause those posts to appear in more News Feeds. Some posts will ask users to tag their friends (left) or comment (right) in order to reach more people

The tactic, known as 'engagement baiting', takes advantage of Facebook's algorithms to cause those posts to appear in more News Feeds. Some posts will ask users to tag their friends (left) or comment (right) in order to reach more people

The tactic, known as ‘engagement baiting’, takes advantage of Facebook’s algorithms to cause those posts to appear in more News Feeds. Some posts will ask users to tag their friends (left) or comment (right) in order to reach more people

Facebook reviewed and categorised hundreds of thousands of posts and taught artificially intelligent ‘machine learning’ software to detect different types of engagement bait.

The firm said it will enforce stricter demotions for Pages that repeatedly bait engagement in a few weeks’ time to give publishers time to adapt.

‘Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait,’ Facebook said.

‘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.’ 

Pages that repeatedly post engagement bait will see more ‘significant drops’ in reach, Facebook said.





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