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Facebook To Punish Pages With “Engagement Bait” Posts

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Facebook continues its crusade against spammers, businesses that only “ask” and hardly ever give back. This time, Zuckerberg and his team are targeting posts that explicitly ask users to do certain actions just to gain engagement without improving their social experience at all #softwaremagic

“Engagement bait” is the behavior Facebook will be trying to punish in the next weeks. Any post that blindly asks users to like, share but also react or vote as part of a giveaway or just to earn organic engagement will be shown less in News Feed.

In this way, Facebook hopes to deliver content that’s indeed interesting and useful to users and not misleading. See, the more likes, shares and comments a post has, the more Facebook shows it, believing the content is popular organically. In reality though, those numbers are the result of a page asking for actions without putting much thought into it.

“[…]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,” wrote Facebook in a blog post. Facebook’s AI will be the ultimate judge of what’s “engagement bait” and what isn’t and the publishers caught in the wrong will see their engagement decline consequently. On the other hand, the platform wants to ensure content creators that the posts that request a piece of advice or a recommendation will be left alone.

This rule follows a rising trend for Facebook, the company having tested already a split News Feed. If they decide to implement it, then users will see personal posts from family and friends on one side of the Feed, while on the other, will watch commercial posts from pages they’ve liked. Of course, this feature may be an incentive for businesses to spend more budget on posts and less of a measure to protect users from unwanted content.

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