Jay-Z may be able to ask “Can I get a woop, woop?!” But Facebook says marketers who ask fans to vote, like or share a post will be demoted in News Feeds.
So dictated the rule handed down by Facebook on Monday. [Author’s note: I hadn’t realized I just how NSFW the full lyrics to Jay-Z’s song are, so sorry about that if you look it up.]
The Facebook Newsroom post written by Henry Silverman, Facebook’s operations integrity specialist and Lin Huang, engineer, states:
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!” 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 social network is using a machine-learning model to “detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.”
Images show examples of vote, react, share, tag and comment baiting.
In the following weeks, the Pages themselves will see demotions, too. Their reach will decrease if these content marketers don’t change their ways.
Nonprofits, though, may not have to worry. Silverman and Huang say in the post that donation requests, genuine requests for help — such as finding a missing child — and similar News Feed posts may not be affected.
But posts need to be genuine, they say. Not actually writing the words “fake news,” which was a huge problem for the social network during the 2016 election cycle, Silverman and Huang add that Facebook lowered rankings for clickbait in the past due to this problem.
They say of engagement bait:
Instead, we will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity.
Silverman and Huang direct marketers to a Facebook Help Center page about News Feed tips, including that Facebook users value:
Content That's Meaningful and Informative
- Focus on understanding the audiences you want to reach
- Create content your audience will find interesting and meaningful
- Optimize your mobile web experience
- Follow these News Feed posting tips: Post frequently; make your posts timely; build credibility, relevance and trust with your audience; and don't look for a silver bullet when posting to News Feed.
Accurate, Authentic Content
This is a list of what not to do. Don’t post:
- links that are considered clickbait
- engagement bait
- links to low-quality web page experiences
- misleading content
- and finally, don’t mislead users through deceptive actions (cloaking, nonexistent functionality, impersonation, false polls)
Facebook says “do”: Protect your content and don't post content that you don't have rights to share
Standards for Safe, Respectful Behavior
More "don’t post" guidelines follow. Marketers may not post content that: contains inappropriate nudity and/or sexual activity; encourages direct violence or criminality; encourages bullying or harassment; is hate speech; is gratuitous violence and graphic content; and encourages self-injury.
(And, perhaps again alluding to Facebook’s problems with fake news, the final tip is “For journalists, keep your accounts safe.” Clicking through shows an extensive list of how to keep an account free from hacking and other abuse.)
In Other Facebook News Roundups
On Monday, Mashable’s Kerry Flynn couldn’t pass up a dig at Facebook for its new rules: “And yet, Facebook's secondary feed Explore is full of meaningless posts. It also recently introduced a page for ‘Top 10 goat posts on Facebook.’ ”
Recode’s Kurt Wagner says on Monday:
Facebook tweaks its algorithm all the time to prioritize or de-prioritize certain types of content. Just last week Facebook announced an algorithm tweak intended to show users more video, and in the past it has cracked down on other types of spammy posts, like clickbait or links that send users to websites full of ads.
It’s unclear if Facebook’s effort to eliminate spam is actually working — the company doesn’t share any metrics around spam content and whether it has gone down as a result of its algorithm changes. On one hand, it continues to tweak the algorithm to fight spam, which means the problem still exists in some form. But considering Facebook has a ton of control over what people can and cannot see in News Feed, it’s probably safe to assume there’s less spam than before.
Even as this News Feed tweak takes place, Facebook is continuing to add employees to review content, and is improving video view and other ad metrics in the wake of Procter and Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard’s urging that agencies and vendors fix their problems or face ad budget consequences.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Facebook Caves, Allows Ad Metrics Oversight