Facebook shares preview of content it seems to limit in news feeds

As Facebook battles a new public relations crisis in the wake of the recent round of investigative reports on Facebook files, the company is also looking to provide more transparency in its processes and monitor how its systems decide to go. what people see in their News Feed every day.

Earlier this year, Facebook released a new explainer on how its News Feed algorithm works, covering the key ranking elements that dictate reach. And today, Facebook shared another look at the cast, this time looking at the types of posts it appears to be limiting in the feed, which don’t necessarily break its rules, but will have less reach, for a variety of reasons. .

As explained by Facebook:

Our content distribution guidelines describe some of the types of content that receive reduced distribution in the News Feed. Our steps to reduce problematic content in the News Feed are rooted in our commitment to the values ​​of responding to direct people’s comments, inspiring publishers to invest in high quality content, and fostering a safer community. .

The list doesn’t really offer any amazing new information, but it does provide additional context to consider in how Facebook approaches content restrictions.

The emphasis here is on potentially misleading and problematic content, with Facebook seeking to reduce the reach of posts that fall into these categories:

  • Advertising farms – Posts containing links to ad-riddled pages, designed solely to increase traffic
  • Clickable bait links – Misleading posts designed to attract clicks
  • Comments that may be flagged or hidden – Comments that Facebook predicts that people are likely to hide or report, based on previous information
  • Engagement baitPosts that explicitly request engagement (e.g. shares, comments, likes) for purposes other than a specific call to action
  • Links to suspected cloaking domains – These are areas that disguise their destination by hiding the name of the landing page or web address, seeking to bypass Facebook’s review processes
  • Links to websites requesting unnecessary user data – This includes sites that request personal information before viewing content
  • Poor quality browsing experiences – Websites with errors or poor mobile display
  • Poor quality feedback – Facebook’s system will demote comments that contain no words (i.e. just a username tag) and / or cut and pasted blocks of text
  • Poor quality events – Facebook will reduce the scope of incomplete event listings or from pages that have shown signs of inauthentic behavior
  • Poor quality videosVideos posted as “live broadcasts” that Facebook intends to be static, animated, looping, poll-only, or pre-recorded, as well as static images uploaded as “videos” without dynamic audio
  • Pages considered spam – Pages Facebook Predicts Might Work malware and / or phishing scams
  • Sensational health content and commercial health messages – including “miracle cure” claims and messages attempting to sell products or services based on health claims

This all makes sense, and the impacts of such would be limited for those who operate legitimate profiles and websites – although it’s worth noting that Facebook will penalize reach for pages that provide a poor mobile experience.

It is also worth noting the rule of “engagement bait”, to which some people have inadvertently fallen in the past.

According to Facebook, the engagement bait, in this context, concerns:

“Posts that explicitly request engagement (such as votes, shares, comments, tags, likes, or other reactions) for purposes other than a specific call to action (such as searching help finding missing people or property, fundraising or sharing a petition) on the Facebook platform. For example, this does not include posts that ask people to get involved in order to show whether or not they support an issue, or to share urgent information regarding natural disasters and life-threatening events.

Facebook says user comments have indicated that users don’t like posts like this, prompting them to interact by liking, sharing, commenting and taking other actions on the posts.

This also relates tangentially to the promotions of the contest, with Facebook’s rules stipulating that:

“Personal timelines and friend connections should not be used to administer promotions (for example: ‘share on your timeline to participate” or “share on your friend’s timeline for additional entries”, and “mark your friends in this message to participate ‘are not allowed).

Those who run engagement-oriented contests or promotions need to make sure they are very clear on all of these.

In addition to this, Facebook will also demote content from domains with limited original content, those that have shared verified erroneous information in the past, and news articles without transparent authorship (like the author’s name attached to the post). .

Facebook will also limit the content reach of domains and pages that have a high click gap:

“Links to websites that receive a particularly disproportionate amount of their traffic directly from Facebook compared to the amount of traffic websites receive from the rest of the Internet.

Facebook click gap illustration

In other words, pages that are probably looking to play with Facebook’s algorithm through spam tactics, while Facebook is also limiting the reach of posts from people who “hyper-share in groups.”

The people’s posts we expect are using multiple accounts to post in groups at a very high frequency. These posts have a strong correlation with spam reports and provide far reaching content to irrelevant audiences who don’t want to see that content.

So, Facebook has several ways to catch spammers, while for legitimate publishers the only real concern is keeping your content approach transparent and not using duplicate content on your site.

Which, if you’re legit, shouldn’t be a concern anyway, but to clarify, are the types of actions that may see your reach on Facebook reduced.

The final element of Facebook’s distribution guidelines relates to community safety and limiting the scope of posts that may be offensive or harmful to users.

This includes content that is about to violate Facebook’s community standards and links to landing pages that contain sexual and / or offensive content.

Again, this is largely what you would expect, there are no major reveals here. But it does provide a bit more context on how Facebook decides what types of posts should have less reach and how it can limit distribution based on varying parameters.

Again, for the most part, legitimate users and pages should not be concerned with these rules, as they clearly apply to illegitimate and fraudulent use. But it’s worth jotting down the details and taking into account the different rules regarding your post.

I mean, Facebook is already limiting the reach of Page posts to single-digit percentages of your audience, so the last thing you need is to inadvertently break its rules and see even less reach as a result.

It’s worth taking a look, considering your approach, and making sure your content and process doesn’t fall under the various Facebook settings.

You can view Facebook’s full content distribution guidelines here.

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