Facebook Plans to Limit 'Spammy' Posts in News Feed

Nov 17, 2014 1:45 PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — Starting in January, Facebook plans on minimizing the number of users who view a brand’s overly promotional organic posts in News Feed.

The move by Facebook, which announced the policy change in a blog post on Friday, means the days are numbered for some marketers using the platform to get messages across for free.

"Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feed," Facebook said in the post. "As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place — as more people and pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time."

Facebook said that the social network dug into survey data from hundreds of thousands to better understand posts that are "spammy."  

"What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from pages they like, rather than ads," Facebook said in the post. "This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from pages.

"According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional: Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app; posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context; and posts that reuse the exact same content from ads."

Lauren MacEwen, who provides social media strategy and management for the adult entertainment industry at 7veils.com, said today that Facebook has been making a push for the new policy for a while.

“EDGErank, the algorithm that affects what appears in the News Feed, is going to become even more important as pages are forced to participate in ads for increased visibility,” MacEwen told XBIZ. “Most adult companies are not able to place an ad on Facebook, even if it is simply to drive likes to a page.  

“This may be limiting; however Facebook has been limiting to adult for a long time. Most adult companies are not allowed to share links to their content, or often even SFW blog posts depending on the topic of their post or the name of their site. Facebook has primarily been a place for branding for many people in adult for a considerable amount of time.  

“I think the upcoming push for ads is going to force pages, adult and non-adult, to focus on the quality of their shared content and engagement.

“Like bating, posting deals, asking for shares, will all be tactics frowned upon and likely decrease impressions," she said. "If you have consistent high-quality posts, you will still be able to share the occasional discount without destroying your EDGErank, however brands are going to have to work harder at being a business on Facebook."

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