Facebook announces plans to crack down on posts that feature user "engagement bait," begging for likes, shares, and comments to increase their visibility.
It's no big secret that Facebook is riddled with all sorts of posts that shamelessly ask for engagement such as "share this if..." or "like this if..." and it's annoying even to Facebook itself.
In a bid to clean up the news feed and get rid of such engagement bait, the social network is planning to penalize such posts and send them into oblivion. Starting soon, posts that beg for user engagement will get the opposite of what they're after.
Facebook Cracking Down On 'Engagement Bait' Posts
Instead of gaining more visibility due to user engagement, these posts will actually become less visible because Facebook will demote them. The social network deems such posts as "spammy" and says its users have complained about them, so it's about time it took action.
"This tactic, known as 'engagement bait,' seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach," Facebook explains. "So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait."
Facebook wants to encourage authentic user engagement, not bait. With this in mind, Facebook teams have been busy reviewing and categorizing a slew of posts to teach a machine learning model how to properly detect various types of posts that bait users to like, share, or comment.
Facebook Pages Demotions Over Spammy Practices
Not only will engagement bait posts show up less frequently in users' news feeds, but Facebook is also planning to enforce stricter penalizations for Pages that frequently and repeatedly resort to engagement bait to artificially boost their presence in users' News Feed.
Facebook says that over the next few weeks, it will implement Page-level demotion. The social network will do it gradually so that publishers have enough time to adjust to these changes and avoid publishing posts with engagement bait. These are just a couple of initial measures, but Facebook pledges to keep looking for new ways to get rid of engagement bait and improve the experience.
Legitimate posts that ask users for recommendations, help, or advice will not be affected by these changes. The update simply targets spammy posts, but those trying to raise money for a cause, circulate a missing person report, or others such, will not qualify as spammy to get demoted.