After listening to users express their dislike for spammy posts that try to get them to interact with comments, shares, and likes, Facebook announced today their plans over the coming weeks to fight “engagement bait.” For example, “LIKE this if you want to impeach Trump!” This tactic takes advantage of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm to try to boost engagement so that their post will gain a farther reach. Facebook will start this week demoting individual posts from Pages as well as people that use engagement bait so that posts that utilize this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.
Facebook teams have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to feed a machine learning model that’s able to detect different types of engagement bait so that Facebook will be able to foster more authentic engagement.
Facebook will issue stricter demotions over the coming weeks for Pages that systematically and repeatedly continue to use engagement bait to gain more reach in News Feed. The Page-level demotion will be rolled out over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt as well as avoid using engagement bait in their posts.
This update follows Facebook’s recent efforts to demote links to low-quality web pages and clickbait headlines. Facebook’s goal with this update is to reduce the spread of content that is misleading, sensational, or spammy so that authentic content will be promoted.
Businesses and publishers that utilize engagement bait tactics in their posts can expect their reach to decrease. Pages that continually share engagement bait posts will also see significant drops in reach. Posts that ask for recommendations, help, or advice will not be affected by this update.