Facebook has announced yet another initiative to clamp down on the number of spammy posts appearing in your News Feed. The social networking giant has identified what is calls “engagement bait,” which are posts that specifically solicit actions on the part of the users, such as asking them to “like” the post if they agree with it, or comment / share it if they meet the criteria laid out in the content.
Facebook gives a handful of examples to illustrate what it means by “engagement baiting,” including “vote baiting,” “react baiting,” and “share baiting,” which include “Like this if you’re an Aries,” or “Share with 10 friends for a chance to win a new convertible.”
So why is Facebook averse to people and pages sharing such content? Well, it all comes down to the company’s desire to promote higher-quality “authentic” content. Engagement baiting is often used as a means to game Facebook’s algorithms — if people are liking, commenting, or sharing a post, Facebook uses this as a signal that the post is organically popular and may automatically show the posts to even more users as a result.
However, in these cases, users may simply have reacted to a post because they were asked to, without actually considering whether the post was worth engaging with — and this is the scenario that Facebook is looking to prevent. “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,” noted Facebook in a blog post. “Posts that use this tactic will be shown less in News Feed.”