Facebook Cracks Down on Engagement Bait in News Feeds

December 19th, 2017 by | No Comments

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Facebook continues to penalize people and Pages that try to outsmart its News Feed algorithm. Engagement bait is the latest type of spam that the social network wants to eliminate from its users’ News Feeds.

Yesterday, Facebook announced that it will begin penalizing posts that ask users to engage with the post through likes, shares, and comments in order to boost a Page’s engagement metrics and trigger the social network’s algorithm to rank them higher or become more prominent in people’s News Feeds. Facebook refers to such posts as “engagement bait”.

This type of spam marks the latest type of content that Facebook’s algorithm has targeted for messing up users’ News Feeds. Over the past few years, the social network has repeatedly penalized clickbait posts, spammy links to sites with too many ads and not enough original content, and photos that trick users into thinking that they are click-to-play videos. Earlier this year, Facebook already attempted to crush engagement bait by identifying Pages that publish this spam and rewarding those weren’t in that cohort. However, it looks like positive reinforcement wasn’t enough at getting rid of engagement bait, so now the social network will crack down on offenders.

Publishers and business pages who use engagement bait tactics can expect their individual posts to be demoted in terms of reach. Meanwhile, Pages that repeatedly publish engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach, not only in their spam posts, but eventually in their organic posts and ads as well.

Some might argue that Facebook is being too strict about how users promote their posts—isn’t the point of sharing on a social network is so that other people will want to share, like, or comment on the content? Yes, but what Pages should aim to impart must be more useful and substantial than a mere request to share. Otherwise, our News Feeds could soon start looking like an email inbox full of chain letters and spam. Facebook would also risk losing its audience if in addition to Sponsored Post ads, people’s feeds were teeming with non-sponsored solicitations as well.
About the author:
Jehan S. Ismael is a full-time writer and an editor for a leading digital marketing firm. She has a love-hate relationship with food, likes listening to rock and rap music, and enjoys reading books by self-absorbed writers like J.D. Salinger and Anthony Bourdain.

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