Yesterday Facebook announced through their official blog that they have updated the NewsFeed algorithm to ensure that the visibility of ads which take the users to web pages that are of low quality will reduce significantly. After starting a war on misleading links and fake news, they have decided that they will also lower the reach of spammy and malicious ads which take users to web pages with nothing substantial. They want users to have a straight forward experience after clicking on ads and moving away from Facebook.
” Starting today, we’re rolling out an update so people see fewer posts and ads in NewsFeed that link to these low-quality web page experiences. Similar to the work we’re already doing to stop misinformation, this update will help reduce the economic incentives of financially-motivated spammers.” said Jiun-Ren Lin and Shengbo Guo from Facebook.
As per Facebook “low-quality web sites” are the ones which “contain little substantive content, and conatin disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.” This means those shady websites with pop-ups and interstitial ads, adult ads or eye-catching but disgusting ads for products that make your sking fair or help lose weight etc. are under the radar.
They futher clarified – “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 NewsFeed.”
This move is very important for their business operations as well. If a large volume of users click on misleading links and visit malicious websites then eventually they will stop trusting what they see in the Newsfeed and will click on less ads. This can reduce Facebook’s advertising revenue and the image it has built for sending genuine referral traffic. People who get frustrated with misleading ads might stop browsing altogher which will reduce the impressions and engagement on ads and may create probles for the social network.
How do they plan to do it?
They review lacs of webpages that are linked to ads on the newsfeed and identify those which contain little substantive content, have large number of misleading, disruptive (pop ups and take overs) ads and malicious content. Then they rely on Artificial Intelligence to understand whether new web pages shared on Facebook has similar characteristics. Hence if they find that a post might take users to low quality web page then the algorithm will automatically lower down their reach and might not even be approved to run as an ad. This will let users see more authentic content which adds value to their browsing journey.
One of the Indian websites which relies heavily on pop ups and interstitial ads is – Times of India! Does this mean websites like these will see a lower organic reach? We will have to wait for a few weeks to know for sure. Rest assured, Facebook will continue to give us users a genuine experience and hold the trust of all the 1.94 monthly active users.
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