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Facebook to demote posts with 'engagement bait'

The company says posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations won’t be affected by the update.

  • Published: December 19, 2017 8:40 AM IST
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Tired of the spammy posts on Facebook that pull you into interacting with likes, shares, comments? Beginning this week, these posts that use “engagement bait” will be demoted, Facebook said in a blog post. The interactive post, which for example says, “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!”, are known as “engagement bait”.

By boosting engagement, these posts seek advantage of our “News Feed” algorithm to get greater reach. “We will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed,” Henry Silverman, Operations Integrity Specialist at Facebook, wrote in his blog post.

“We will roll out this Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts,” added Lin Huang, an engineer at the social networking firm. To reduce engagement bait, Facebook would deploy machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait.

The model will detect posts in the “News Feed” that are not authentic and will demoted them. The exercise would reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook, the post read.

The social networking giant had, similarly, in the past demoted clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences. However, posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update.

The new feature is likely to affect publishers and other businesses that use engagement bait tactics in their posts. Their reach on these posts may decrease, while Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach.

  • Published Date: December 19, 2017 8:40 AM IST