Attracting visitors is one of the main concerns for page owners on Facebook and items are regularly posted by them to increase user interaction. However, due to the competitive nature within the social media world, posts on the site were becoming more creative but increasingly off-topic at the same time.
Because of this, Facebook has now begun to penalise irrelevant or inappropriate adverts or posts. The official announcement of this can be found here.
In simple terms, the company is trying to make the organic content on people’s timelines more relevant to their interests.
Reaction to the Facebook Post
The post by Facebook explains its new conduct and how it developed the new algorithm. It also goes onto say that memes – i.e. online ideas, jokes, images, etc that are passed from person to person quickly – will be targeted specifically.
For those who rely on sending out these sorts of posts to attract increased user engagement and likes, this can seem a touch unfair. Some page owners have questioned how this refined algorithm can effectively determine the quality of a post and whether it can be classed as a meme or not.
Their standpoint is that, if viewers respond well to a post and engage highly in it, then why should the page be punished by Facebook? Likewise, why deny visibility to a post before people have been given the chance to see it in the first place?
A page by TechCrunch about the new Facebook policy revealed some further concerns about the potential fallout from the crackdown. A post on the site, left by a Brian Carter is interesting and sums up the grievance, with some of his main points being:
“Memes will be punished in the Facebook newsfeed. Facebook says that memes are low quality. Facebook did not say why they believed memes to be low quality and I completely disagree. I need an explanation. I thought memes were one of the more interesting things Facebook had surfaced- a fascinating contribution it was making to modern culture. I would argue that memes are high quality, because they work- and they’re like words or symbols but just more complicated units of culture.
“Memes help Facebook marketers… the fuel that a social media burn is novelty and sometimes you just have to be a little bit new, or combine two old things to get attention. Memes do that. They are a time-efficient and effective way to get a message out.”
“Facebook shouldn’t be judging content quality…They’re saying that all (their users) are wrong… Instead of relying on their own newsfeed algorithm, Facebook will apply its own aesthetic, but with no explanation of the aesthetic.”
“I find this a disturbing precedent, because whatever alternatives to memes we develop may later be penalized as well. If Facebook says memes are crappy, what do they view as ideal content? Or should we just expect years of case by case elimination of certain kinds of content?”
Some Facebook users may celebrate the tighter controls by the company as a way to clear up their timeline. However, others don’t think it’s fair for the company to control certain posts too strictly, especially if they could attract lots of positive engagement. In other words, “What right does Facebook have to decide which posts are low-quality?” when the people themselves haven’t been given a voice.
In any case, some more clarification should be given out by Facebook on how the software will review certain posts or memes and also what page owners need to do to ensure their visibility remains high.