The End of ‘Like-Baiting’ on Facebook?

We’ve all seen one of these posts. A person or business explicitly requesting likes, shares and comments to increase the engagement around their Facebook posts, without actually providing any content of value. Well Facebook dubs these types of posts “Like-Baiting,” and they’ve made some changes to try and suppress them in your news feed.

According to a new blog post, Facebook surveyed users and asked them to rate the quality of these stories. Although like-baiting posts get a lot of engagement, people rate them on average 15% less relevant than other stories with the same level of engagement. With that in mind, Facebook has changed its algorithm—the formula that determines what content you see on your news feed and what content gets left out—in order to push Like-Baiting into the background and surface more relevant and valuable content.

The change doesn’t mean you should stop pushing for engagement on Facebook posts. “This update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among their fans, and focuses initially on Pages that frequently post explicitly asking for Likes, Comments and Shares,” Facebook clarified.

Facebook also announced that it is working to reduce the presence of “frequently circulated content,” which refers to photos or videos uploaded again and again by your friends, and “spammy links,” or links whose language is unclear to purposely trick you into clicking.

Facebook Algorithm Changes Continue

These updates are only the latest in a series of recent algorithm changes from Facebook aimed at cleaning up your news feed.

In January, Facebook changed its algorithm to reduce the number of “text status updates” from Pages that appear in your news feed. The change forces brands to share images or videos with almost every post or risk drastically losing the reach they get.

While Facebook presents its algorithm changes as positive updates reflecting the interests of users, it’s clear that brand Pages have been hurting as a result. The organic reach of brand Pages has dropped significantly in the last few months, even among ‘viral content’ brands like Upworthy (-50% Facebook referrals), Viral Nova (-62% Facebook referrals) and Distractify (-84% Facebook referrals) according to comScore.

An anonymous “source professionally familiar with Facebook’s marketing strategy” told Valleywag that the social network was reducing Page reach to 1-2% of your audience per post in order to drive up advertising revenue. Whether or not this is true, brands absolutely need to keep up with algorithm changes when planning out their Facebook strategy moving forward, especially if they don’t have the budget to buy Facebook ads.