Facebook will demote spam posts that beg for attention

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Facebook employees
Facebook employees went through a tense 24 hours.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed plans to demote posts that beg for comments, likes, and shares.

It will use machine learning to fight the “engagement bait.” The move, which will happen this week, will impact pages as well as people, so you’ll see fewer spam posts in your news feed.

Facebook knows we all hate posts that beg for attention. The kind of posts that ask you to “like if you LOVE this!” or “share with 10 friends for your chance to win an iPhone X!” Or those that ask you to vote on something using one of Facebook’s reactions.

Facebook is working to kill engagement bait

Now the social network hopes to slowly kill off engagement bait by making sure fewer people see posts of this kind. Staring this week, it will demote individual posts from pages and people so that it’s more difficult for them to make it into our news feeds.

“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,” the social network explains.

“Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.”

Pages that repeatedly use engagement bait to grab attention will see stricter demotions, the company adds. However, Facebook will allow them several weeks to adapt their approach and “avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts.”

Some attention-grabbing posts will be accepted

Facebook understands that some posts require as much attention as possible. Posts that ask for help, advice, or recommendations — like those that circulate a missing child report or hope to raise money for a good cause — won’t be affected by these changes.