Starting this week, Facebook will demote clickbait posts in order to reduce spam and encourage higher-quality content on the social media platform.
For better or for worse, Facebook has evolved into much more than a simple way to connect with friends. As the most prolific social network worldwide, the platform is a key part of many advertising strategies, as well as the primary way in which many people make their money. In an effort to increase exposure and visibility, many pages will post low-quality content with sensationalist headlines, urging users to click or share in hopes of expanding the reach of their page. Facebook will demote clickbait posts starting today, in an effort to prioritize content that actually provides value to its users.
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The primary content that will be targeted is spammy posts that urge users to take actions like sharing, tagging, liking or commenting. Posts that exist with the sole goal of racking up likes or shares don’t really add much value to the social media network, and hopefully the fact that Facebook will demote clickbait posts from here on out will lead to a more enjoyable experience filled with relevant posts that really matter.
In order to accomplish this goal, Facebook has reviewed and categorized a huge amount of posts, training a machine learning intelligence to detect and demote clickbait. For those currently running a page that engages in behavior that will be affected by this change, the company will allow a period of a few weeks to adjust posting habits before the clickbait post demotion begins. Facebook explained their philosophy behind demoting clickbait in a recent statement:
“Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait…We want to reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.”
A Better Facebook Feed
For those posting content asking for help, advice, or recommendations, posts shouldn’t be affected. Charity outreach should also be left alone, which is good news for those looking to raise money for a good cause. Facebook will demote clickbait posts that don’t add anything of value, and asking for shares for a fundraiser won’t fall under that umbrella.
The biggest takeaway from this news is that pages that frequently post content solely intended to increase engagement will see a significant drop in traffic. This major change may lead to a social media feed filled with more content that’s actually meaningful, rather than a sea of posts that encourage you to “tag a friend that would do this.”
It’s interesting to think about how the fact that Facebook will demote clickbait posts will affect advertisers, as well as the growth of popular pages. Many groups that are looking to expand their outreach frequently use posts that promote engagement by basically begging for likes and shares, and it’s clear that page owners will have to take a different approach moving forward. For the end user, this change is no doubt a welcome one. For those who are trying to grow their pages, however, it will require a little more creativity and effort moving forward.
At the end of the day, we feel like this move is a step in the right direction. Whether Facebook’s algorithm is powerful enough to make a significant impact in the quality of posts we see remains to be seen, but this change has the potential to make for a feed filled with more of the content we want to see rather than post after post begging for likes and shares. With the rollout coming this week, it won’t be long until we start to notice a difference.