By Henry Silverman, Operations Integrity Specialist and Lin Huang, Engineer
People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions. For example, “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!” This tactic, known as “engagement bait,” seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.
To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have 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, over 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.
Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update.
Instead, we will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity. Similar to our other recent efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences, 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.
How will this impact Pages?
Publishers 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. Page Admins should continue to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics. Learn more about engagement bait and how to avoid using it here.
Update 4/4: In December, we announced that we would begin demoting individual posts in English from people and Pages that use engagement bait. We recently expanded this to Spanish, Arabic, French, Italian, and German posts as well, and today are also extending this to posts in Portuguese.
Update 4/26: Starting today, we have expanded this to posts in Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Thai, and Turkish.
Update 6/25: Starting today, we have expanded this to posts in Bengali, Bulgarian, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Malay, Polish, and Romanian.
Update 11/13: Starting today, we will be demoting comments which contain engagement bait.