Today Facebook pulled back the curtains a bit, allowing outsiders a glimpse into some of the changes it has made to its News Feed algorithm. The move, which would reduce a post's organic reach, is being billed as "a series of improvements" intended to "reduces stories that people frequently [say] are spammy and that they don't want to see."
What's changing, exactly? Facebook says it is targeting three broad categories: "Like-baiting," "recirculated content," and spammy links. Like-baiting refers to the practice of expressly asking readers to Like, Comment on, or Share a post. So no longer can you write, "Like this post if you love pizza!!!" and reasonably expect to reach as many eyeballs.
As for recirculated content, Facebook says those are photos and videos that get re-uploaded over and over again—that is to say, "memes." Consider this, a "conscious uncoupling." Lastly, spammy links refer to anything that tries to trick people into clicking on cruddy, low-quality content.
It's all part of Facebook's ongoing mission to clean up its News Feed, which, until recently, provided a firehose of traffic to brand pages. In March, Ogilvy published a study showing that organic reach for brands was plummeting, from 12% in October 2013—when the algorithm tweak was thought to be made—down to 6% in February 2014.
For page owners and online marketers that's obviously a big deal, and something they'll have to reckon with. For ordinary users, on the other hand, a leaner, less spam-heavy Facebook looks like a good and welcome thing.
[Image: Flickr user Mike Mozart]