Facebook declares war on “engagement bait”

Eric Abent - Dec 18, 2017
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Facebook declares war on “engagement bait”

In combating things like fake news, misleading ads, and even revenge porn, Facebook certainly has a lot on its plate at the moment. That isn’t stopping it from waging a new war on what it calls “engagement bait.” It doesn’t matter how long you’ve used Facebook, you’ve likely encountered engagement bait before, and now the company is looking to get rid of it.

For the uninitiated, engagement bait are posts that attempt to take advantage of Facebook‘s social features to increase their reach and engagement across the site. For instance, you might see a post that asks you to “like if you agree,” or a post that presents a handful of options and asks you to vote for your favorite one using Facebook’s reaction options.

Pages and people using Facebook’s social systems to artificially increase their reach is obviously a no-go, and today Facebook detailed its plan to combat it. The first step in this process is already complete, as Facebook has taken to the time to “categorize hundreds of thousands of posts” of this nature to inform a new machine learning model of what engagement bait actually is.

Beginning today, posts that partake in engagement bait will pop up less in your News Feed, but those demotions are going to get more severe over the next few weeks. Should publishers continue to use engagement bait on a regular basis, their pages will suffer more severe demotion punishments, so Facebook is definitely looking to limit the effectiveness of engagement bait quickly.

It should be noted that pages which ask for shares for legitimate reasons such as fundraising or trying to find a missing person won’t be subject to these new rules, which is good to hear. These changes should be rolling out today, so hopefully it won’t be long before engagement bait is a thing of the past.


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