The mention of Facebook evokes the thought of whiling away time. However, that’s not how Facebook intended the platform engagement to grow. Starting this week, Facebook has announced that it will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.
Facebook says it has reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.
Additionally, Facebook announces that in the coming weeks, “we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed. 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. Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.”
However, what about the posts that ask to be shared in order to spread a word on someone missing, someone’s adoption? Does that count as spam too? Facebook says such posts “will not be adversely impacted” by this update. “Instead, we will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity.”
Basically, what this means for pages is that any publisher and other businesses that use engagement bait tactics in their posts should expect their reach on these posts to decrease. Meanwhile, Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach. Facebook warns that “page admins should continue to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics”.
In the past, Facebook has made similar efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to “low-quality websites”.