Facebook to Penalize 'Engagement Bait' Posts

John Lister's picture

Facebook says it's cracking down on posts that unreasonably encourage users to share content or tag friends. It's also offering a way to temporarily stop seeing posts from a particular user.

The move is designed to deal with people and organizations who take unfair advantage of the way Facebook decides what most users see on the site (with the default settings). The order posts appear for a particular user is heavily influenced by how many other people the user knows have "liked", shared or commented on. Meanwhile tagging somebody in a post (which is done by writing their name in a reply to a post) makes it very likely they'll see the post prominently displayed.

Bogus 'Like' Requests Will Be Costly

Facebook isn't happy with people and pages that use this system with what it's calling "engagement bait" and gives the example of "Like this if you're an Aries" or asking readers to tag friends who resemble somebody in a photograph. (Source: techcrunch.com)

The key is whether asking for responses or actions in this way is genuinely useful. Facebook gives the example of asking for help or recommendations, or whether the post was designed solely for promotion, and in turn a Facebook page.

Posts Facebook deems as using "engagement bait" will appear less prominently. Meanwhile if particular page regularly produce such posts, all of their content will be demoted, even their more legitimate posts.

Snooze Feature Hides Friends For a While

The other change is a feature dubbed Snooze that will now appear as an option underneath posts. It's designed as a way to get a temporary break from seeing content from a particular person without having to "unfollow" them completely, or even stop being Facebook friends altogether. Facebook gives the example of somebody who goes on holiday and posts so many pictures it becomes annoying. (Source: fb.com)

Selecting Snooze will stop that person's posts appearing for a "short period of time," says Facebook, though they won't know their posts are being hidden in this way. Users get a notice when the Snooze period has automatically ended, though they can switch it off at any time. As well as "snoozing" other users, the feature can also work with pages and groups.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you irritated by posts that ask for likes or shares for no good reason? Can Facebook really distinguish between "engagement bait" and more legitimate posts? Will you use the snooze function and if so in which circumstances?

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