Facebook has announced a new update to the News Feed that aims to tackle spam. More specifically, the network is targeting ads, posts and pages that link to spammy sites – or “low quality web page experiences”, as the announcement puts it.

The obvious question is: how does Facebook plan to pinpoint “low quality” experiences and will this affect legitimate advertisers on the network?


Facebook taking on spam

First, here’s what Facebook has to say about the process behind its latest update:


“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 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.” – Jiun-Ren Lin, Facebook Newsroom


So this is different from last year’s update that’s supposed to tackle clickbait on Facebook. The clickbait update analysed the headline of ads and posts to weed out those ridiculous headlines with “you’ll never guess what happened next” and other nonsense.

However, this time Facebook is analysing the pages that ads, posts and pages link to in a bid to assess their quality. We’ve seen this approach before from Google, of course, back in the early days of its own war on spam.

Facebook already has a policy in place that’s supposed to make it difficult for malicious advertisers to place ads on the network, but it’s no secret this hasn’t worked as well as people would have liked.


Legitimate advertisers should be fine

The good news for most of us using Facebook for marketing is this update should have little effect on us. In fact, the only impact you might see – unless you’re up to no good with your advertising efforts – is a small increase in traffic as more News Feed space goes to legitimate ads and posts.


“Publishers that do not have the type of low-quality landing page experience referenced may see a small increase in traffic, while publishers who do should see a decline in traffic.” – Jiun-Ren Lin, Facebook Newsroom


Updates like these are always good news for advertisers because intrusive and misleading ads discourage people from clicking through. So it’s good to see Facebook taking measures over the last year to tackle clickbait, fake news and now spam in the News Feed. Of course, this is in the network’s interests as well because no clicks mean no ad revenue for the advertising giant.

This particular update will be rolling out over the next couple of months so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on impressions and traffic, just to make sure there are no unusual fluctuations. If you need any more information about this update or any other recent changes to Facebook, fire us your questions on social media or feel free to get in touch with our team.