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4/12/2014
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Facebook Changes: What To Expect

Facebook cracks down on spammy posts, tweaks privacy options, and revamps messaging. Here's what it means to you.

10 Famous Facebook Flops
10 Famous Facebook Flops
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

From privacy tweaks to major mobile app changes, Facebook has had a busy week.

The social network announced a handful of privacy updates to help you understand who you share content with and how your friends' sharing affects you. It also confirmed plans to kill in-app mobile messaging. Facebook will now require users to download a separate messaging app to chat in real-time with friends. Finally, Facebook promised to help clean up your news feed by cracking down on three types of posts: like-baiting, frequently circulated pictures and videos, and spam links.

Here's a deeper look at its three announcements, plus details on what they mean to you.

1. Facebook cracks down on spam.
Facebook knows that spammy content has cluttered news feeds. On Friday, it announced changes that will target three categories of spam behavior.

"Like-baiting" refers to posts that explicitly ask readers to like, comment, or share the post in order to get more distribution. According to Facebook, these types of posts are 15% less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of likes, comments, and shares.

Facebook said it will make changes to better detect these posts and ensure they aren't shown more prominently in users' news feeds than more relevant stories from friends and other pages.

[Get a grip on your account. Read 10 Most Misunderstood Facebook Privacy Facts.]

The social network will also crack down on frequently circulated content, such as a photo or video that users and pages repeatedly upload. "We are improving news feed to deemphasize these pages, and our early testing shows that this change causes people to hide 10% fewer stories from pages overall," Facebook said in an announcement.

The third change will target spam links. Some stories in the news feed use language or formatting to trick users into clicking to a website that may promise to link to a photo album but instead takes the user to ads.

"The update we're making today improves news feed to reduce cases of these spammy links, and in our early testing we've seen a 5% increase in people on Facebook clicking on links that take them off Facebook," the company said. "This is a big increase in the context of news feed and is a good sign that people are finding the remaining content in their news feed more relevant and trustworthy."

2. Facebook tests new privacy updates.
Earlier this week, Facebook confirmed a handful of changes that it plans to test to help you understand who you're sharing content with and how your friends' sharing affects you. These changes include clearer explanations of your settings, additional controls for your photos, and reminders when you're about to post publicly.

Over the past few weeks, some Facebook users noticed

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2014 | 2:41:47 AM
Re: what about facebooks own spam?
Ariella, 

Maybe some pshychological study should be conducted to know the reason for this and to know who spend so much time watching cat videos and pictures. On the other hand, it would be a waste of time and resources to conduct such a pointless study. :D

-Susan
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2014 | 1:23:30 PM
Re: complexity
I hope the privacy changes don't end up defaulting all of the options - that's been a sneaky move Facebook pulled a while back. 

I use it mostly for work related stuff, but it's a hard sell at times. Especially when it was only a few years ago that Zuckerberg talked about the death of personal privacy like it was a good thing. 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
4/14/2014 | 8:22:09 AM
Re: complexity
Facebook's privacy settings are a challenge, and in my experience, has been the last straw for a handful of my friends who have left the social network. They're too worried about sharing something unintentionally, and it's not worth it to them to try to figure out the maze of settings.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2014 | 7:53:37 AM
Re: what about facebooks own spam?
@Susan right, a good percentage of internet activity, supposedly, goes to cat videos. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2014 | 3:10:30 AM
Re: Newsfeeds and Ads
Daniel, 

"Poor newfeed posts cause issues with user engagement and retention."

Indeed! Filtering all those pictures that you see circulating several times a day in your newsfeed will help. 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2014 | 2:56:15 AM
Re: what about facebooks own spam?
Ariella, 

More than Facebook's own spam what bothers me the most is all the nonesense non-stop pictures of cats and dogs populating Facebook plus those stupid posts from buzzfeed which annoy me to dead. And it's not that "you don't like animals," it's the amount of them and the comments what is annoying.

At least, FB's own spam shows you similar pages to the ones you like, which makes more sense to me. 

I am pretty happy that FB is going to limit the appearance of certain pitures and videos as well as the ones that everyone mindlessly share. 

-Susan 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
4/13/2014 | 10:23:19 PM
Re: what about facebooks own spam?
@PaulS681 I was thinking the same thing. Facebook itself is guilty of spamming members,  and likely it's not going to stop b/c one man's spam may be another one's converting click.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
4/13/2014 | 10:44:11 AM
complexity

This is good that Facebook wants to make changes in regards to spam and privacy but how many people can decipher the privacy settings? There are so many that you could easily miss something and not even know that someone not on your friends list can see things. They do have a tool to let you see how people that aren't all your friends list see your page, and it works well. That being said I think it is a bit complex for some.

 

PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
4/13/2014 | 10:37:58 AM
what about facebooks own spam?

What about Facebook's own spam? These are the posts that say because you like this page, here is another page you may like. I continually tell it to go away only to see it the next day again. That, I believe is Facebook's own spam. Are they going to get rid of that?

danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
4/12/2014 | 3:14:21 PM
Re: Newsfeeds and Ads
I certainly see too many posts on Facebook I deem irrelevant to me. Obviously Facebook was paying attention to this. Poor newfeed posts cause issues with user engagement and retention.

I think that the idea of the newsfeed was brillant in the first place - the problem has been that there's simply too much junk. Here's hoping this fixes that. 
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