Facebook Is Killing 3 Types Of Content In The News Feed

By: Chris Crum - April 10, 2014

Facebook announced even more changes to its News Feed algorithm today, aimed at “cleaning up News Feed spam”. Facebook will be targeting three specific types of posts, and stop showing them in the News Feed: like-baiting, frequently circulated content, and spammy links.

Do you think Facebook’s changes of late have actually improved the News Feed experience? Share your thoughts in the comments.

If Facebook is actually able to execute this well, then the news isn’t so bad. Organic reach for Page posts is already on its deathbed, and these changes are actually targeting content that few will probably miss from their News Feeds. If it’s not executed well, Facebook could be showing some of your legitimate posts to even less people.

“The vast majority of publishers on Facebook are not posting feed spam so should not be negatively impacted by these changes, and, if anything, may see a very small increase in News Feed distribution,” the company says in the announcement. Emphasis added.

It’s that “if anything” part that’s a little worrisome. But again, organic reach is already nearly evaporated for most Pages, so it’s kind of like “who cares?” at this point. The real damage is already done.

A little more about these three types of content Facebook is targeting now…

Like-baiting is essentially the type of post that explicitly asks or tells users to like, comment, or share the post. I’m pretty sure Facebook has indicated that this type of thing would get hurt in the past, but I guess they mean it this time.

“People often respond to posts asking them to take an action, and this means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed,” Facebook says. “However, when we survey people and ask them to rate the quality of these stories, they report that like-baiting stories are, on average, 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares. Over time, these stories lead to a less enjoyable experience of Facebook since they drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.”

Matthew Ingram at GigaOm makes a good point: “There’s no question that many, perhaps even most, Facebook users would dislike this content intensely and vote to have it removed from their News Feed — except perhaps for younger users, who often enjoy that sort of thing, in part because it irritates adults. But I can think of other examples of content that might be considered like-bait that I saw friends willingly share, including photos of people fighting cancer who were trying to get a certain number of likes, and so on. That kind of thing may not be “high quality” content, but some people clearly enjoy it. ”

The update, Facebook says, won’t impact Pages “genuinely trying to encourage discussion”. Those Pages should still see the minuscule amount of reach they’re already getting.

By “frequently circulated content,” Facebook means instances where photos or videos are uploaded over and over again.

“We’ve found that people tend to find these instances of repeated content less relevant, and are more likely to complain about the Pages that frequently post them,” Facebook says. “We are improving News Feed to de-emphasize these Pages, and our early testing shows that this change causes people to hide 10% fewer stories from Pages overall.”

Finally, Facebook considers spammy links to be those that 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 explains.

It says it can better detect these types of links by measuring how frequently people choose to like the original post or share it with their friends.

The publishers being targeted here will see their reach decrease over the next few months, Facebook says.

Like I said, for the most part, people aren’t going to miss any of this type of content if Facebook’s algorithm does its job right. These are mostly shady ways to get engagement. You’re better off posting interesting photos.

Is Facebook on the right track with its News Feed? Share your thoughts.

Images via Ogilvy, Facebook

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Bass Wolfram

    Facebook’s social engineering has made it as boring as its owner.

    • Haresh Makwana

      Yes, @bass you are right.. people like & add friends for connecting with pages & friends.. If dislike post or image or any other things people remove friends & dislike pages.. facebook have no need any changes its not a search engine & quality control network – its simple community site.. But they are change BECAUSE for $$$ (facebook now completely paid)..

  • Khuram Dhanani

    I don’t think it’s bad move of Facebook. Quality posts will see good consumer reach automatically. But Facebook has to find out survival ways also. After all, it’s only earnings source is its ad revenues:- Khuram Dhanani

  • Rudy Brinkman

    This will also be the end of the “like & share” advertising many smaller (and big!) facebook company-pages use I assume. In the end, it’s the money game again… they want the business owners (and regular users) to pay to get their posts notice. Well let me tell you: paying for posts doesn’t work either. The number of views for paid for posts is very dissapointing.

  • JH

    No more organic for my products = I cut FB off from my advertising $’s

  • clhatch13

    This is bad in my opinion. They are killing the impact of social media marketing on the web and are going to drive business use over to other social media sites. What they should do is spend more time empowering users to block items from their timelines that they don’t want to see. And what about game requests? These seem to cause the biggest uproar on timelimes and by users but I don’t hear Facebook taking any stance against clearing up the ‘gaming spam’ which plagues peoples’ timelines.

  • Toby Ybot

    Promoted Posts is the way to go not ads.

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

    We’ve just posted a message on FaceBook announcing to our small following that we have given up attempting to use it as a means to reach and share with our customers and friends.

    Facebook brings nothing to the table, at least nothing that we can’t get from direct marketing through the newsletter and through other social networking. Why would we pay for fake likes and follows on FB when we can get real interaction for free on Twitter and others?

    It’s a shame, but I think Facebook has shot itself in the foot with all of this nonsense. It’s become too greedy for its own good, and it’s not paying attention to the opinions of businesses spending money with it. People know that it’s a waste of advertizing, and companies are giving up in favor of other options.

    I would rather advertize with Twitter and get genuine follows and interaction, than spend money on FB to reach a tiny number of people, the majority of which will be fake profiles by hired clickers in India.

  • http://www.donniam.com/ Don Niam

    I think Facebook and google are just forcing everything they can out that may be of ad nature or SEO, GOOGLE for SEO and forcing people to buy ads from them or rankings from google.

  • Tim Short

    Most of us know that their ads don’t work. FaceBook, YouTube and ReverbNation has been trying to monopolize on advertising for years now on their websites. They had even joined forces to gain maximum exposure, but who clicks on those stupid ads anyway? No one, unless it’s relevant to them, highly unlikely. FaceBook is cutting it’s own throat and I will be glad to see it go, along with ReverbNation and YouTube’s stupid little commercials before every freakin’ video. Guess what? I didn’t partner up with YouTube because I wanted my traffic to see my video first before some stupid commercial. This isn’t T.V., it’s the internet retards!

  • http://www.sarkarinaukricareer.com/ Mahesh Chandra

    Social Platform Engineer is doing well!

  • shauny

    i have A GROUP OF FRIENDS ON FB WHO WANT TO SEE LINKS RELATED TO ISSUES WE ARE ALL INVOLVED IN AND NEITHER DO I LIKE THEIR CONTROL OF NEW FEEDS…. facebook is becoming worthless for people like me…….

  • Larry Dawson

    How is this a problem? I have yet to find anything worth calling “news” in the newsfeed.

  • Barbara

    This is just facebook’s way to make companies pay them more money for advertising. We grew legitimately, put up quality content, pictures, mostly everything original, at least 3 times per day. We’re doing everything up front, no spamming; we even paid facebook advertising costs to bring people to the site and then when we started to succeed and our likes reached the 35,000 point, they stopped sending news feeds out to the mass majority of the friends. Even I, who like everything I put up, don’t get my own news feeds! Their goal is for us to pay them more and more in order to get people to our page, because now nobody knows what’s going on in our community unless they specifically search the page. But right now, most of our loyal friends are getting nothing from us! I’m waiting for someone to slap them with a huge class action suit. They are telling the public they are doing this in order to guarantee quality content, but we put up our own material. the only thing we didn’t do was pay them more and more everything month in order to reach the public. They have done this to many people. They cut off our dedicated public from our page in order to force us to buy more advertisement. This is unfair and disgusting behavior. Waiting to read about the law suit!

  • http://www.frontlineweb.biz/ Frontlineweb suffolk websites

    Facebook is dead unless you want pay

  • JustinSBeach

    Facebook is becoming less and less valuable to me as a consumer and a content producer. As a consumer I am frequently missing important updates from individuals and organizations because they aren’t showing up in my feed. As a producer, Facebook has gone from generating 35-40% of my traffic a few years ago to 1-2% of it now (putting it on a level with Yahoo and Bing).

  • http://hative.com/ Hative

    Facebook give me no traffic now. I removed its plugin.

  • FrankLuska

    It’s funny, all the people whining in the comments, about not getting something for free. It’s like they expect Facebook “to give them something”, like Facebook owes them something (are there that many democrats running businesses?), like they didn’t expect Facebook to force advertising on them, or for Facebook to make money … Just Like Every Other Business. Are you people new to the internet? Every successful company has done this, or Died. You can’t expect someone else to pay the bills, for these companies, while you continue to get a free ride. Either advertise, or move along. When enough people leave, they will figure out a different way to do things, or die. Google is still alive, so i don’t look for that to happen.

  • by2day

    Here is a novel idea Facebook, if you want to stop the likes and share posts….show business pages posts to their followers! Not everyone wants to engage with every post on their news feed so why should business owners get punished for it? Turn the table and let us see some actual results from our facebook posts and maybe I would be more inclined to spend some money in hopes to get fantastic results! They have just become bigger bullies and I have now cut my advertising dollars with facebook! Way to shoot yourself in the foot facebook!!