Shruti DhapolaApr 11, 2014 15:16:30 IST
Where spam is concerned, Facebook has been trying to do a better job, even though the occasional pink bikini video spam tends to go rampant. Now the company has promises that it will tackle spam more aggressively by announcing some serious changes to the News Feed.
According to a post on the company's official newsroom Facebook has promised to reduce spam stories.
Facebook will target three kinds of stories, starting with those which are "Like-baiting". Typically these are posts which ask users to like in return for say a prize, an award or sometimes for just plain superstitious reasons. The idea is to trick the users into sharing and liking the post, even though normally you wouldn't do that for a post such as this. Sometimes people are asked to 'like' in the name of a cause. According to Facebook, the quality of these stories is not very high. Facebook says that based on a survey they did with users, "like-baiting stories are, on average, 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments and shares."
Facebook says that like-bait stories now won't show on top of other updates from friends or pages that someone likes. Facebook says that this "update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans." The only problem is that when your friends are liking or sharing these posts, you are unlikely to escape them anyway.
Frequently circulated content is second on the list. Facebook is going to put a stop to all those funny posts or photos that keep getting uploaded to Facebook over and over again. That means less of the same content. News Feed will also de-emphasise Pages that keep reposting the same kind of content. Facebook claims that "early testing shows that this change causes people to hide 10% fewer stories from Pages overall." All this means is that you are not likely to see different posts for the same story on your News Feed.
Spammy links are third on the target list. Facebook says that some Pages uses "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." Sometimes they claim to take users to a bunch of photos but just lead to an ad. "By measuring how frequently people on Facebook who visit a link choose to like the original post or share that post with their friends, we’ve been able to better detect spammy links."
Facebook says that Page owners might see a very small increase in News Feed distribution, thanks to these changes and that those who are not spamming need not be worried. The biggest problem with spam isn't that publishers are always flooding people's News Feeds with these links, but that users too end up liking and sharing them, but with these new changes fewer users will end up sharing them since spammy posts will be punished by the News Feed.
For instance, the post about Facebook owning all the content that was posted by users went viral because users kept on clicking and sharing, this despite others pointing out that this was simply untrue.
Then of course there are spam videos which promise shocking content and go viral on the site. For Facebook, spam will remain a problem till users are much more vigilant.
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