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Facebook limits News Feed links to scammy ad-filled sites

New AI systems will identify and deprioritize any suspect content.
Rob LeFebvre, @roblef
May 10, 2017
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Facebook regularly tweaks your news feed to make sure you only see "quality" posts and ads. It's banned fake news sites from using the Facebook ad network, added an easy way to report false news posts, and has even hired third-party fact-checkers. Today, however, the company announced that it would focus its efforts on websites that contain "little substantive content and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads." The news feed update is meant to help reduce the "incentives of financially-motivated spammers."

There is already a policy in place to prevent these kinds of scammers from advertising on the social network. Facebook intends to enforce it as it focuses on organic News Feed posts. The team uses artificial intelligence trained on "hundreds of thousands" of websites with this kind of ad-farm content to discover posts that link to them. When identified, these posts should show up farther down your feed and they won't be eligible to become a Facebook ad.

"This is one of the first times we're actually using information from the experience that people will have once they click something to help inform the ranking in News Feed," product manager Greg Marra told Recode.

The new system should roll out over the next few months. If you're publishing high-quality posts from your own Facebook Pages, you may see a small increase in traffic as users see more of your stuff than spammy links to low-quality websites.

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