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Facebook Will Bury Posts That Specifically Ask People to Like or Reshare

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
April 10, 2014

Apparently Facebook does not like the smell of desperation.

The company announced a few modifications to its News Feed in a blog post Thursday afternoon. The changes will regulate “like-bait” posts, reduce the number of repetitive images you see, and crack down on spammy links.

Per the announcement:

“People and Pages on Facebook frequently reshare great content, but people tell us there are occasionally instances where photos or videos are uploaded to Facebook over and over again. We’ve found that people tend to find these instances of repeated content less relevant, and are more likely to complain about the Pages that frequently post them.”

So here’s what’s going to change:

1. Like-baiters will be punished.
For those of you who are unacquainted with this irksome social media technique, like-baiting is when a brand specifically asks you to like, share, or comment on its post. As in, “Like this post if you’re excited for Mad Men tonight!” It’s the digital equivalent of walking into a crowded room, saying something completely unremarkable, and then asking everyone to give you a pat on the back for it.

Exhibit A. To be completely honest, I’d probably share that photo of a kitten no matter what. (Facebook)

Facebook is smart to do something about it. The coming changes will better detect these type of posts so that they don’t show up in your News Feed as often. Though, according to Facebook, “This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares.”

There’s a pretty fuzzy line between those two. We’ll have to wait and see which groups Facebook plans to favor with this one.

2. Minimize repetition.
Perhaps in an effort to distinguish itself even more from Twitter, Facebook is going to be extra careful from now on to keep its images in your News Feed varied. So even if both people and pages can’t stop sharing that gaspworthy photo of Kim Kardashian’s “beach bum,” you’ll only see it once or twice.

3. Reduce spam.
Facebook’s software engineers have become a lot better at identifying links that are trying to trick you into clicking through to a website full of ads. Meaning the Facebook links you’ll be clicking on will be less likely to be from Internet con artists.

Facebook assures us that, “The vast majority of publishers on Facebook are not posting feed spam so should not be negatively impacted by these changes, and, if anything, may see a very small increase in News Feed distribution.”

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, please share this post on Facebook. I beg you.

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