September 13, 2013

Facebook Takes On Low Quality Content

Facebook vs. Low Quality ContentFacebook made waves recently by announcing their plan to penalize what they consider low quality content. Here’s the information they posted on their blog about yet another new initiative:

“Every day people see content from millions of Pages on Facebook in their News Feeds. Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. As part of that we want to make sure that the best quality content is being produced, surfaced and shared. Our latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them.”

What exactly is “high quality content” according to Facebook? They have created criteria off a survey they made and distributed to people who gave input as to what they considered high quality content. Facebook’s hoping to boost interaction by showing what they deem the best of the best. They want to be showing content that will engage users and do away with content that doesn’t pull its weight.

The following questions were asked in determining the quality of content:

  • 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?

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, not so much according to many users and businesses. A number of users are questioning Facebook’s decision to use another algorithm to determine the quality of content – instead of allowing users to like and unlike pages in response to the content being posted.

This latest update leaves us with more questions than answers – mainly because every page operates in its own way. The beauty of Facebook is allowing businesses and users to put out content followers want to see. What Facebook deems “high quality” might not be the same as what followers of a brand or business want to see. After all, not every post has to be hard-hitting in order to drive engagement. Where does that leave businesses?

Well, as of now we can’t be certain. But according to Facebook, businesses only need to focus on these tips to make sure they’re sharing content that won’t be filtered out:

  • 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?”

The criteria for content standards are about as clear as mud. The Facebook blog post doesn’t go into enough detail about what other factors were taken into account for their quality survey. How are businesses supposed to know how their content will be judged if Facebook glosses over the majority of the criteria they used?

For now, it looks like businesses will have to do a lot of guess work to figure out how to avoid being penalized.

Will Facebook’s new initiative change type of content your business shares? Let us know what you think about this new initiative in the comments section below.

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