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Facebook Controversy Over Content

by Jo Shaer, on August 29, 2013

It's been a busy old week of fiddling at Facebook.

High Quality Facebook Content

First they announced that they had been surveying people about the quality of the content in their newsfeeds.

They have now come up with about a thousand factors that their new Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm (no longer to be known as Edgerank) takes into account when deciding which status updates to put into the news feed.

They have deigned to make us privy to a couple of those thousand:

Be sure that you are posting good quality stuff that your fans like. Mari Smith advises that you keep an eye on your Page Insights to see if any of your posts have been hidden or marked as spam - Facebook is watching those. Too many and it could impact upon your ability to appear in the news feed of your fans.

Fill out all the fields in your Edit Info section of your business page. This is the information that appears in the About section underneath your cover image. It also helps Facebook to see that you are not a spammer but a committed user.

Some of the questions that were asked of those surveyed were:

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

I have highlighted the two that I find most interesting and which many other commentators are up in arms about. Standard social media advice over the last year has been to encourage your fans and followers to do something with your comment. Give a clear call to action - share this, like this, comment on this.

And yet, here is Facebook saying completely the opposite.

My own feeling is that this is to try to cut down on the number of spammy pages which gain huge numbers of fans by posting status updates with an image which says:

Like this if you have a daughter that you love

There have been a large number of these recently and I think that is what Facebook is getting at in conjunction with the one about low quality posts and memes. These pages are generated by Like Farms. They build up the number of likes on a page with repetetive low grade posts that tug at the emotions of Facebook's users. Having a hundred thousand or more fans can make it very valuable. It is then sold on.

Jon Loomer also has some interesting views on why Facebook has implemented the latest changes here. They must be able to see which posts are getting negative feedback and, presumably, they are punishing them. However, if the engagement on this type of post outweighs the negative feedback then some Pages are still getting away with it. Hence, the decision to not look favourably on this type of post + call to action combo.

To continue to produce the best quality content, we are instructed to bear these points in mind when posting content:

  • Make your posts timely and relevant
  • Build credibility and trust with your audience
  • Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
  • Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”

Only time will tell if images with motivational quotes on them will continue to be classed as great content. Personally, my advice has never encouraged adding a CTA to every post. Just as I would advise varying the type of content, so also should you be more creative with your calls to action.

Having said that, there was a post recently by SocialBakers which showed that tweets were more effective if you encouraged people to retweet. I really hate to think of social media users as being little more than Twitter Sheep who just do as they are told all the time.

And then Facebook turned their attention to the long running and thorny issue of competitions.

Don't just gamble with Facebook. Find out more about building an effective Social Media Marketing Strategy for your business.

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Topics:Facebook

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