Facebook’s Latest News Feed Algorithm Change Is Aimed at Links to Low-Quality Websites

The social network wants to 'help reduce the economic incentives of financially motivated spammers'

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Facebook has taken its battle against fake news to its News Feed algorithm once again, announcing an update Wednesday aimed at slashing the number of posts and ads that link to “low-quality” web page experiences.
Engineering leads Jiun-Ren Lin and Shengbo Guo detailed the update in a Newsroom post, saying that the aim is to reduce users’ exposure to “posts people consider misleading, sensational and spammy” and deliver more informative posts to their News Feeds.
Lin and Guo said another goal of the update is to “help reduce the economic incentives of financially motivated spammers,” adding:

We have had a policy in place since last year to prevent advertisers with low-quality web page experiences from advertising on our platform. Now, we are increasing enforcement on ads and also taking into account organic posts in News Feed.
With this update, we reviewed hundreds of thousands of web pages linked to from Facebook to identify those that contain little substantive content and have a large number of disruptive, shocking or malicious ads. We then used artificial intelligence to understand whether new web pages shared on Facebook have similar characteristics. So if we determine that a post might link to these types of low-quality web pages, it may show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad. This way people can see fewer misleading posts and more informative posts.

As for the impact that the latest tweak to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will have on pages, Lin and Guo said publishers that do not share links to the types of low-quality landing pages referenced above may see slight upward bumps in traffic, while the opposite is true of pages that share the type of content the social network is attempting to weed out.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.