Facebook to Cut Some Brand Posts from Feeds

by Harry Sheff

FacebookFacebook announced late last week that it would be removing some brand content deemed “overly promotional” from users’ News Feeds. The change will take effect in January 2015.

The social network says it’s in response to a survey of “hundreds of thousands” of Facebook users who “wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

Facebook explained: “We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads. This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”

An algorithm will automatically search posts for relevance, removing certain ones from your News Feed. Three types will be targeted: posts that do nothing but push you to buy products or install apps, posts that try to get you to enter contests without context and posts that are re-used ads.

The move may un-clutter your News Feed, but Advertising Age, in a report on the change, spun it another way: “Facebook is becoming even more pay-to-play for brands,” adding, “The new change will conceivably increase marketers’ demand for Facebook ads to compensate for the shorter reach of their unpaid posts. But Facebook said it won’t lead to a surge in the number of ads that actually appear in people’s news feeds.”
Earlier this month, Facebook’s ban on trading likes for contest entries went into effect.