Facebook Is Cracking Down On ‘Engagement Bait’

What is it?

Facebook will begin to demote so-called “engagement bait’; content where publishers ask users to vote, like, or share a post, to gain wider visibility of their content.

What does it mean?

Facebook is fighting engagement bait in hopes of promoting meaningful and authentic experiences. With the use of a new update to the News Feed algorithm, , the platform will demote posts from people and pages that attempt to boost interaction by coaxing users into likes, shares, comments or other action. Repeat offenders will face even stricter measures with Facebook warning that continued use of such tactics could result in all content published by a brand being demoted.  The introduction of these measure has come in response to user feedback and complaints expressing their dislike of “spammy posts” on the platform.

The platform has pointed out that this tweak to the algorithm will not affect scenarios in which the circulation of information to a large audience is vital: e.g. missing child reports, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips – it will simply target misuses of the engagement/reach formula.

Is it a game changer?

It could be, but not right away. Facebook have stated that they will not be rolling out the ‘Page-level’ demotion measures immediately. There will be a transitional period, giving Page publishers time to adapt to the changes and change their practices.

What does this mean for brands that publish on Facebook? This will undoubtedly affect those Pages that try to take advantage of Facebook’s ‘News Feed’ algorithm by boosting engagement for increased reach. Brands which have relied on content of this nature will be forced to overhaul their social strategy as a result in the decline in reach. Others, will need to exert extra precautions to ensure that their content is not in breach of these new regulations, and potentially face penalisation.

In light of this, it will be interesting to see the outcomes of this tactic, and whether other social media platforms will follow suit and introduce anti-engagement bait measures of their own.