Facebook regularly makes changes to the News Feed so that it only surfaces content that’s relevant to the user and what they’re interested in seeing. It also makes changes to ensure that low-quality content and spam doesn’t surface in News Feed. The company has now said that News Feed will automatically downrank posts from sites that have stolen content.
Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that links will be shown less prominently in News Feed if they have a mix of stolen content, clickbait headlines or landing pages filled with low-quality ads.
Content scraping is a common practice on the internet. Sites republish content from other sources with very little or no modification at all. Facebook’s in-person interviews and surveys have revealed that users don’t like seeing scraped content in their News Feed.
“Starting today, we’re rolling out an update so people see fewer posts that ink out to low quality sites that predominantly copy and republish content from other sites without providing unique value. We are adjusting our Publish Guidelines accordingly,” Facebook confirms.
The decision about whether content on a site is stolen will be made by Facebook’s algorithm. It will compare the main text content on a page with all other text content to find possible matches. The prediction that the content is stolen will be based on a degree of matching.
A combined classifier is then used to merge this prediction with just how much of a clickbait the headline is coupled with the quantity and quality of the ads on the site. If everything falls into place then News Feed will automatically downrank that post.