Beware The News Feed Spam Police
Facebook isn’t done with the latest tweaks to their News Feed algorithm. Ugh. Did you know that we’re now down to only 2% of our total Facebook fans that are able to see our posts – organically? Meaning for free. So for those 1000+ fans you have, only 20 or so will see your content. And…it gets worse. There’s yet another update to the Facebook News Feed algorithm and this one is intent on cleaning up News Feed spam. Facebook will now punish Pages that flat out ask for Likes, Comments, or Shares. Take that Google – You’re not the openly player who can punish users!
According to Facebook’s April 10th announcement, 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. Oh and it’s Facebook that decides what the relevant content is and when they will show it to you.
It’s that last sentence that has really pissed some brands off. Like royally. Did you read about Eat24? If you’re unfamiliar with this story, and the company’s super awesome Break-Up Letter To Facebook, read this, it’s worth it, you’ll thank me later.
Then read why Eat24 dumped Facebook days after their ‘break-up letter’ went viral. How ironic is that?
Facebook Cleans Up News Feed Spam
This week Facebook rolled out what they call a series of improvements to News Feed to limit certain stories certain people report to be spammy or that they’d rather not see regularly. This is horrible news for brands that use “like baiting”, sharing “already over-shared” content, and/or spammy links.
Believe it or not, there are brand Pages that actually try and game Facebook’s News Feed in order to get more distro and reach than they would normally receive if their social marketing tactics were legitimate.
This News Feed update targets three very broad categories that they consider
News Feed spam:
““Like-baiting” is 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.”
Those that like to game the system know that people tend to engage with content that asks them to take an action. If a user takes action on your posts, for example, commenting, sharing, or liking the post, this gives your post “juice” and Facebook’s News Feed algorithm allows that post to be seen by more people.
Facebook research has showed them that people report like-baiting stories (i.e. posts) to be less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments, and shares. Facebook believes that over time this gives the user a poor experience on the platform and they want to minimize this affect.
Facebook shared a screen shot as an example of Link-baiting:
2. Frequently Circulated Content
This one seems obvious and is probably a good thing from a user perspective. We all share and reshare great content. Sometimes this leads to over-sharing and more over-sharing. Facebook has found that people will find repeated content less and less relevant and couple possibly complain about Pages that regularly over-share, over-shared content.
3. Spammy Links
Will this ever die? Unfortunately some Pages use “inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads. For instance, often these stories claim to link to a photo album but instead take the viewer to a website with just ads.”
Facebook’s News Feed update is better able to detect spammy links based on measuring how much users who visit a link chose to like the original post or share the post with their friends. Moving forward News Feed is now improved and will reduce cases of these spammy links.
They’re reporting from early testing that they’ve “seen a 5% increase in people on Facebook clicking on links that take them off of Facebook – this is a big increase in the context of News Feed and is a good sign that people are finding the remaining content in their News Feed more relevant and trustworthy.”
How Will This Affect Your Page?
Thankfully, most brands don’t practice News Feed spam techniques and if you’re one of them you should be ok. If you’re regularly posting relevant and sharable content you could actually see a small increase in your News Feed organic reach.
For those that have made a career out of spammy links in social posts, like-baiting, and circulating memes, you’ll see even more of a decrease in your reach. Facebook is bound and determined to decrease News Feed spam and show users content that they want to see and when they want too see it. And don’t forget, they will make that decision for you.