Facebook cracks down on News Feed spam — yes, again

Spam Stephen Dann FLickr
Image Credit: Stephen Dann/Flickr

Facebook is back at it, scrubbing its mega-social network to get the spam out of your News Feed.

“Today, we are announcing a series of improvements to News Feed to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see,” software engineer Erich Owens and product manager Chris Turitzin wrote in a blog post today.

Facebook has rejiggered its algorithms again and again over the years to make the precious patented News Feed an object of pleasure, not frustration. The idea is to keep millions and millions of users happily clicking links, not scrutinizing everything they see and gradually using Facebook less and less.

With today’s updates, Owens and Turitzin wrote, Facebook is deemphasizing items that beg users for likes, comments, or sharing and ensuring these don’t gain precedence over more humbly shared content in users’ News Feeds. Facebook also is straining links to content that seem like something good but actually just turns out to be nothing but ads — or a blend of frequently shared stuff and ads.

Oh, and if users or Facebook pages reshare stuff, that’s no good, either.

“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,” Owens and Turitzin wrote. “We are improving News Feed to de-emphasize these Pages, and our early testing shows that this change causes people to hide 10 percent fewer stories from Pages overall.”

Facebook doesn’t think everyone is guilty of these nefarious practices. It’s just the bad apples. Now you know how to avoid being a bad apple.


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