Facebook tweaks algorithm to combat spam

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'Spammy' posts tackled by Facebook

Facebook has tweaked its News Feed algorithm in an attempt to tackle 'spammy' posts.

The update will improve the quality of content appearing on users' News Feeds by reducing the visibility of stories and pages that deliberately try to get more distribution than they would normally.

Facebook software engineer Erich Owens and product manager Chris Turitzin collaborated on a blog post, which said: "The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don't miss the stories that are important and relevant to them."

How will Facebook improve its News Feed?

The update will target three areas of spam activity in order to help Facebook reach its objective, including:

  • Like-baiting: posts that directly ask readers to link, share or comment. Facebook has found that users do often respond to these requests. However, these same users feel that link stories are on average 15 percent less relevant than others.
  • Frequently circulated content: content that is uploaded to Facebook repeatedly. The social media network is looking to target this issue as its users find occurrences of repeated content to be less relevant.
  • 'Spammy' links: stories that attempt to trick people into clicking to a website containing only ads through the inclusion of inaccurate or misleading content or formatting.

Publishers who produce 'spammy' content will see a reduction in distribution over the next few months. Publishers who aren't involved in such activity won't be negatively affected by the algorithm, and may even potentially see an increase in the distribution of their Facebook posts.

Rachel Hand, head of content at theEword has said: "The News Feed algorithm update will help users to view relevant content, allowing Facebook to make sure that people aren't put off using the social network site because of 'spammy' posts clogging up their feed."