Posts

Facebook has announced sweeping changes to its news feed and the way it handles groups or pages that violate the company’s content policies.

The new changes, including a new algorithm signal, are aimed at reducing the reach of sites spreading content with misinformation by judging the authority of the sites the content comes from.

If Facebook believes the site producing content shared on the platform is not reputable, it will decrease its news feed reach and reduce the number of people seeing the content.

How Facebook is Changing its Algorithm

In the past, Facebook has teamed up with highly respected organizations like the Associated Press to validate sites spreading content across the platform.

Now, the company says it is introducing a “click-gap” metric designed to automatically evaluate the inbound and outbound linking patterns of a site to judge if it is authoritative.

Essentially, the click-gap signal measures the inbound and outbound linking patterns to determine if the number of links on Facebook is higher than the link’s popularity across the internet. This will allow the company to distinguish the forced spread of content rather than organic virality.

As Facebook explains in the announcement:

“This new signal, Click-Gap, relies on the web graph, a conceptual “map” of the internet in which domains with a lot of inbound and outbound links are at the center of the graph and domains with fewer inbound and outbound links are at the edges.

Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.”

Changes to Groups

Notably, this new algorithmic signal isn’t just being applied to news feeds. The company explained it will also be using these algorithms to automatically remove low-quality content posted in groups, including private groups.

The company defended the decision by saying they can now identify and remove harmful groups, whether they are public, closed, or secret.”

“We can now proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.”

Admins are Required to Police Content

Along with these changes, Facebook clarified that its algorithms will consider what posts a group’s admins approve as a way of determining if they are a harmful group or eligible for removal.

The company says it will close down groups if an admin regularly approves content that is false, misleading, or against Facebook’s content guidelines.

This is how Facebook explained the new policy:

“Starting in the coming weeks, when reviewing a group to decide whether or not to take it down, we will look at admin and moderator content violations in that group, including member posts they have approved, as a stronger signal that the group violates our standards.”

What This Means for You

As long as the pages you participate in or run are sharing content from reliable sources, the new policies should have little effect on your day-to-day operations. However, the changes could have considerable impacts on brands or influencers who go against mainstream science or other non-approved sources. These types of industries have flourished on the platform for years, but may soon be facing a reckoning if Facebook’s new content guidelines are as strict as they sound.

YourBusinessStory

Facebook announced a new video offering for small businesses called Your Business Story, which would allow Pages to easily create and share montage-videos incorporating still images and music. At the same time, the company let slip that it now has over three million advertisers.

Your Business Story is a simple tool similar to the previously announced SlideShow offering. The company didn’t say anything about ads being included in the platform, but the note about their recent advertising milestone suggests the new offering will eventually work its way into Facebook Ads.

In the announcement, Facebook said:

To celebrate the businesses that use Facebook to grow, we created Your Business Story — a tool that makes it easy to create a video that shows what your business brings to the world. Because we believe the best way to tell the story of three million businesses is to empower each one to share their own.

Three million advertisers is a significant milestone for the social media platform. In September, the company announced it had reached 2.5 million. Before that, it claimed two million advertisers in February 2015. That means Facebook has been bringing in about half a million advertisers every six months for about the past year.

The announcement also said the majority of the businesses that use Facebook’s ad services are small businesses, also saying “50 million small businesses now use Pages on Facebok.”

 Facebook Banner

While Facebook users have been able to share animated GIDs on Facebook since this spring, businesses and other Page owners have been left out in the rain. Now, Facebook is testing the animated image format with a small selection of Pages, suggesting the feature may be available to all Pages in the near future.

As reported by TechCrunch, Wendy’s and Coca-Cola’s Brazilian brand Kuat unveiled the small test by posting GIFs yesterday.

Facebook has since confirmed that a small number of Pages have been given the ability to post GIFs as an experiment, saying in an email:

“GIF’s can be a fun and compelling way to communicate, so we’ve started testing GIF support in posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. We will evaluate whether it drives a great experience for people before rolling it out to more Pages.”

As with posting GIFs on personal profiles, GIFs are posted on Facebook by pasting in a link from a third-party source such as Giphy, Imgur, or Tumblr. They will still not be displayed if directly uploaded into the Facebook platform.

FacebookVideo

As Facebook’s video platform continues to grow in popularity, the social media giant is releasing a new set of tools aimed at making it easier for Page owners to control and manage their video content.

Now, when Page admins upload videos they will have new distribution and customization options available, such as setting for making a secret video or assigning an expiration date. Below is a full rundown of the new video options available for Page admins:

  • Secret videos: Upload non-discoverable videos that are accessible only via a direct URL.
  • Audience restrictions: Restrict who can watch a video based on age and gender.
  • Expiration date: Set a date for a video to be automatically removed from Facebook, while retaining all the insights data.
  • Prohibit third-party embeds
  • Upload without distributing in News Feed
  • Customize thumbnails
  • Tag videos by category
  • Edit video metadata

Along with these new options, Facebook announced it is introducing a new section under the Publishing Tools tab called ‘Video Library’. This tab will allow Page owners to manage all of their video content easily in one place.

Facebook is becoming a formidable competitor to YouTube, and could potentially bypass Google’s video service in video views in the near future. With these new features, Page admins have more reason than ever to give Facebook’s video platform a try.

Facebook says all of these upgrades will be rolled out globally to Pages “over the coming weeks.”

Faceboo LikesIn the next few weeks, you are likely to lose at least a couple likes on your Facebook Page. It isn’t a sign people are losing interest in your brand however. Facebook has just announced they will stop including likes from memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts in the totals for likes on Pages.

The company issued the warning in a blog post yesterday, saying the move will help give businesses more accurate information about the people following their Page and improve ad targeting efficiency.

As the post explains:

Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update. It’s important to remember, though, that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.

According to Facebook, Page owners should not expect big drops. The average Pages should only lose a few followers, but any Pages who have paid for Likes or used other artificial means of inflating their total may see substantially larger losses.

Facebook is also warning Page administrators with an alert within Insights: