Facebook is clamping down on engagement baiting

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

They’ve battled clickbait headlines and have put links to low-quality webpage experiences in a chokehold, and now Facebook has its sights set on engagement baiting.

That’s a snazzy way of describing those posts that you’ve almost certainly seen and, quite possibly, might have created yourself. You know the thing – ‘tag a mate who would do this’, ‘like this if you’re an Aries’ or ‘vote for your favourite using the reactions’.

Over the coming weeks, you’ll be seeing fewer of these type of posts in your News Feed. Not only that, any pages that persist in sharing these types of posts will find themselves being demoted.

Here’s what Facebook said about it all:

To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.

Additionally, over the coming weeks, we will begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach in News Feed. We will roll out this Page-level demotion over the course of several weeks to give publishers time to adapt and avoid inadvertently using engagement bait in their posts. Moving forward, we will continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.

Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update.

Instead, we will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity. Similar to our other recent efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences, we want to reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.

Marketers seem to have noticed and are already adapting their behaviour.

Of course, this doesn’t mean people have to stop tagging that mate who really needs to see that post – it’s a natural part of how Facebook works after all. Instead, we’re just not allowed to ask for them to do it any more.

But, if your content is good enough, you shouldn’t need to any way.

What do you think to this update? Long-overdue or a travesty? Let us know!