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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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Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/12/2014 | 10:59:07 AM
Newsfeeds and Ads
Freeing up the newsfeed is a good move for users, but more importantly, it should allow engagement for sponsored posts to become higher for advertisers, in turn this will deliver better ROI. With better ROI, more advertisers will want to use sponsored content, I just hope Facebook limits its ad space because already I feel that too many sponsored stories are in the newsfeed. It's a tricky area and the right balance needs to be found. 
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