Facebook wants to free your News Feed from spam

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It happens to everyone. You’re scrolling through your News Feed, looking at baby photos and hastily piling on a friend’s birthday with your own “happy birthday” post when a jarring before-and-after weight loss shot from some random company your friend liked pops up sandwiched between the updates you actually care about. Facebook is making changes to News Feed to prevent the annoying clutter from filling up your feed, and companies are probably not gonna like it.

Facebook is targeting three types of spam: “like-baiting,” spammy links, and photos or videos that have been shared repeatedly. Of the three, like-baiting is by far the most annoying: It’s a post, usually accompanied by an image, which asks you to click like. “Like if you agree!” Too bad there’s no dislike to disagree. Usually the page or person is trying to hit a certain number of likes for no discernible purpose other than to go viral. It’s the worst.

Facebook is constantly tweaking News Feed to make it better.

Facebook said in a Thursday blog post that the tweaks are based on user surveys. The network found that like-baiting stories weren’t as relevant to users as other types of stories.

“Many of these stories are published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would,” the company said.

Pages that encourage liking for like’s sake will be most affected by the changes. Brands who share the same photos and videos over and over in the hopes that fans will reshare them will also see less visibility on Facebook. Pages that are “genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans” won’t see any difference, Facebook said.

The network is also cracking down on spammy links that send users to ads by watching how often people who click on that link share it or like the original post.

The end result should be a News Feed that only turns up content you want to see, but some users are already complaining that by liking a Page, they’ve already consented to seeing what that Page shares. Facebook has taken heat for its past News Feed algorithm changes, which are designed to emphasize certain types of posts and push down others. The thing is: When you like a Page, some of your activity shows up in your friends’ News Feeds. I don’t want to see the played-out memes you think are funny, and I don’t care if you agree that bunnies are the cutest animals. (Which they obviously are.) I just want to see real posts from my real friends.

Facebook said people guilty of spammy behavior will start to see distribution decrease over the next few months. Pages, you’re on notice.

This story, "Facebook wants to free your News Feed from spam" was originally published by TechHive.

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