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Facebook takes a stand on link spam, and your racist aunt’s clickbait

Facebook knows you have family members who routinely share links about how the country has gone to the dogs, and it wants you to know it sympathises.

In an announcement posted Friday, the company asserted that it was “deprioritising” posts shared by users who spam others’ news feeds on a regular basis.

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According to the social network, there is a “tiny” group of people on Facebook who post a “vast” amount of shared articles per day — though considering nearly every user on the network has one family member they’ve muted for this very reason, that “tiny” seems suspicious.

The company’s research has proven that users who partake in this style of posting are more prone to share articles that are “clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation.” Facebook deems this kind of content “low quality” and is thus demoting it on News Feeds.

Facebook knows you have family members who routinely share links about how the country has gone to the dogs

Unfortunately this update only applies to links posted, and not photos, status updates or the like — but the company does offer the neat “unfollow” button so you can survive Christmases without the animosity unfriending might bring.

For publishers that rely on posting links daily, Facebook says they shouldn’t see a “significant” change to their distribution. Of course, if they rely heavily on racist aunts sharing their content, then they “may see a reduction in the distribution of those specific links”.

The social network guides publishers to its basic guidelines which essentially tells publishers that it shouldn’t spread lies, clickbait or sensationalist content.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook, and so do we.”

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