Spring Cleaning for Facebook, New Update Clearing Spam Content from News Feeds

By David Gutbezahl April 11, 2014

We all love cute cat pictures, snarky comics about society, and inspirational spiritual quotes, but the real reason we use Facebook is to connect with our friends and family. When we open up our News Feed on Facebook, we go see updates about our friends, yet so often the News Feed is actually filled with those posts we don’t necessarily want to see. Facebook has become a breeding ground for spam. In an attempt to bring Facebook back to its original purpose, the company said that it has made moves to curtail these sort of posts.

According to the announcement posted on Facebook’s newsroom, the company has been receiving numerous complaints about these posts, calling them “spammy”. Facebook has heard these complaints, acknowledging that these pages are intentionally abusing their system to gain more publicity than they deserve. In response, Facebook has released an update that will hopefully clean out most of the spam from users’ feeds.

The first type of spam that Facebook is addressing is one that we all know well. Facebook refers to this spam as “like-baiting”. Like baiting is when a page makes a posts that explicitly asks users to like, share, or comment on the post. These posts can get thousands of likes, spreading all across the world, and cluttering the News Feed of those who would normally have no interest in the page.

While a lot of these posts aren’t particularly trash, many of them do have an actual message, Facebook found in a survey that people find these posts 15 percent less relevant than posts who have gained a comparable number of likes, comments and shares without using like-baiting. These pages aren’t spreading their message by having a message people care about, instead they rely upon tricks to increase attention.

Another issue that we all find with our News Feed is that news items featuring old, outdated stories are often being recirculated over Facebook. Once a story has been around for awhile, having it fill the News Feed can be frustrating, and preventative of people finding more relevant and newer stories.

Facebook will be addressing both of these issues by finding these posts, and lowering emphasis of them on the News Feed in order to allow more relevant posts to be seen by users. According to Facebook, the new update has already shown itself as effective, with a 10 percent drop in the amount of stories being hidden.

The third post that Facebook will be going on the offensive against are those that lead to off-site spam websites. The announcement by Facebook states that many pages create posts that mislead users to click on external links. The links often lead to websites that only have advertisements, or have a small news story surrounded by advertisements. Often these links don’t even feature the content that users believed they were accessing.

Facebook will be analyzing how often people like or share the original post with a link in order to determine if a post falls into this category. They will actually be removing spammy links with the update. Facebook has reported a 5 percent decrease in users clicking links that lead off-site.

It sounds as if this update is already having a positive effect for Facebook, and for most users this update will be welcome news. Relevant content, and updates from our friends will actually be featured on our News Feeds. Those who run pages may have something to fear, but Facebook assures people that as long as they follow fair sharing practices they will be fine, and may even find more attention being brought to their legitimate pages. So, the only people that really need to fear are those who have spammy friends who will continue to fill their News Feed with useless posts.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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