Not too proud to beg? Facebook downgrades posts that ask for likes

Facebook engagement baiting
Facebook
Posts that solicit likes and comments by flat out asking for them will soon be less prominent on Facebook. On December 18, the social media platform announced that posts that use “engagement bait” will appear less often in the news feed, thanks to a new machine learning algorithm. The change means that posts that say “like if you agree” or “tag someone who looks like this” will be penalized in Facebook’s algorithms that determine which posts show up in the news feed.

The change begins with downgrading single posts that use engagement bait, a change that starts rolling out this week. But that’s just the start — Facebook says Pages that use these tactics on an ongoing basis will see an even further drop, though the platform is giving these users a few weeks to adapt before rolling out that change.

Engagement bait comes in a number of different forms, but it all boils down to asking for a specific interaction. Facebook’s current algorithms promote posts that have more interactions, which means posts using the tactic often show up in more news feeds. Facebook will soon start downplaying a number of different types of engagement bait, including vote baiting, or asking for a specific reaction in a survey-like post. Posts that ask for likes, shares, tags, and comments will all be placed further down in the news feed by the new algorithms.

Facebook is aiming to eliminate those spam-like posts, so not all posts that ask for reactions will be affected. Posts that ask for advice, recommendations, or help will not be downgraded, Facebook says. That means that a missing child report asking for shares won’t be downgraded in the new algorithms, for example. The company is focusing on engagement bait posts that are not authentic, one of the company’s core values for the news feed.

For users who find posts randomly asking for likes, tags, and comments annoying, the change will help clean up the news feed, eliminating some of the posts that have a large number of interactions not because the post is helpful or humorous but simply because they asked for the interactions.

For some Pages and other publishers, the change means yet another algorithm that affects the reach of their posts. Because users are more likely to interact with a post when simply asked, some social media experts recommended the tactic in the past. Now, Pages will have to work to compose posts that gain interactions authentically, not through solicitation.

The news feed update joins a handful of other recent changes Facebook has launched, including eliminating that ticker feed and testing a tool that allows users to post to the news feed but not a profile. Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out similar algorithms that targeted click-bait links, penalizing posts that use those tactics, and also rolled out a filter downgrading clickbait phrases.

Computing

We want every laptop to be as thin as an iPhone. But is it practical?

The Acer Swift 7 is the thinnest notebook you can buy, and it feels like the notebook of the future. But it makes too many compromises along the way, and some weird design choices hold it back.
Deals

Today’s best Amazon deals: Garmin, Sony, and Bose

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but for retail giants like Amazon, the savings are only getting started. We've scoured the depths of Amazon to find you the very best deals going on right now.
Social Media

#ThrowbackThursday is only the start: Instagram hashtags for every day of the week

Not getting your hashtag fill with #ThrowbackThursday or #ManCrushMonday? Here's a list of some of the more popular Instagram hashtags, so you can outfit your next post with the proper tag, regardless of what day it is.
Product Review

How does the sleek MateBook X Pro hold up to the modern day competition?

Huawei impressed us with the MateBook X, a solid competitor to the 12-inch MacBook that beat Apple at its own game. Now, Huawei is taking a shot at premium 14-inchers with the MateBook X Pro, but it’s not without oddities – like a…
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.