Facebook to play down links to websites with deceptive ads

May 13, 2017, 02:15
Facebook to play down links to websites with deceptive ads

Such websites have made a home for themselves on Facebook, where unsuspecting users are led to sites that have junk ads and offer nothing of substance.

In pulling together the update, Facebook Inc (FB) examined hundreds of thousands of webpages that are linked to on its social network to weed out the pages that have more ads - especially "disruptive, shocking or malicious ads" - than content.

The downgrade of these kinds of websites is in motion.

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In a recent essay, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about how he wants the social network to help in the creation of what he called "informed communities". Facebook has tweaked the algorithm plenty of times before to favor "high quality" content, but Wednesday's announcement appears to be the first time Facebook has told publishers that its ads are also part of the equation.

Facebook usually use algorithms to check what posts people see from friends and family so that it can refine algorithm to filter out spam and malicious content. It's increasing its enforcement on ads now and will also be taking into account organic posts in News Feed.

Facebook announced the change today in a blog post that over the coming months it will begin rolling out an update meant to create a "more informative experience" by reducing such low-quality posts by cutting off the economic incentives of financially-motivated spammers. They should keep the number of ads on a page in check, though Facebook doesn't say specifically how many ads is excessive. According to Facebook, the new changes will be rolled out in waves over the coming months, so you might not see any improvements yet.

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Facebook, the world's largest social media network with 1.9 billion monthly users, has enormous power with its algorithms to potentially drive traffic to media publishers or stymie it.

This latest push is directed less at people trying to spread false information, and more at sites just trying to make a buck. "It's always good news if you don't have to compete with lower-quality clickbait." said Warren St. John, CEO of local news publisher Patch. The low-end variety of these ads use sexualized and sometimes shocking images, as well as celebrities, and misleading headlines to capture attention.

The clean-up will affect both standard posts and sponsored content, and is created to make it harder for spammers to make money off the back of Facebook. The same goes for ads that are selling illegal products or contain spyware or malware, or any page with too many pop-up and interstitial ads.

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