With the brouhaha about fake news and the significant impacts it’s making, Facebook has come out with two algorithm updates, one of which is focused on timely signals to improve prominence of news stories and the other to better rank authentic content. In a joint announcement made by members on its engineering and research science teams, new signals will determine how visible Facebook updates are going to be in the News Feed.
According to Facebook, authenticity is based on a number of factors, including categorizing Pages to identify whether they’ve solicited likes or posted spam in the past. If you run a Page that has tried to game the Facebook feed, consider yourself unlucky. Asking for likes, comments or shares is a no-no, and this update will likely penalize you whether or not the content you share is authentic. They also leverage user behavior; if posts are hidden by the user, Facebook considers the Page’s contents to be unauthentic.
Facebook also looks at real-time signals to amplify visibility of posts. These signals include recent comments from friends or post Likes. If there’s “a lot of engagement … about a topic or a Page is getting a lot of engagement,” Facebook’s algorithm will consider that topic important and improve its visibility on the feed.
Facebook says that this might minimally impact Pages — but it subtly suggests that marketers should not encourage suspicious activity to improve post visibility. It might have worked once in the past, but it looks like they’ve caught on.