Facebook's News Feed algorithm has a new target: Links that send people to crummy websites full of ads.
Facebook regularly tweaks its News Feed algorithm, the software that determines what things you see in your feed, and said in a blog post Wednesday that its latest update will crack down on lousy links. They may look fine in the feed, but they send people to pages "covered in disruptive, shocking, sexual ads," according to Greg Marra, a product manager for Facebook.
In the past, the company has cracked down on click bait by trying to identify patterns in headlines or by watching which posts people click and then immediately abandon.
In this case, Facebook is actually using a computer model to scan the contents of webpages when users share them on Facebook to determine if they're spammy. Facebook usually scans webpages to pull in metadata like an image or a story headline. Now, Marra says, the company will scan the page to see if it has any real substance at all or is just full of ads.
Links that don't pass Facebook's muster will be pushed down in News Feed and can't be promoted as part of a Facebook ad campaign.
"This is one of the first times we're actually using information from the experience that people will have once they click something to help inform the ranking in News Feed," Marra said.
The updated algorithm will start rolling out Wednesday.
—By Kurt Wagner, Recode.net.
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