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Facebook to screen your friends who share too much

Facebook to screen your friends who share too much

If you find that your newsfeed always seems to be clogged up by that one friend who is something of a serial sharer, you may be relieved to hear that the social media site is planning to do something about it.

In a statement released last Friday, Facebook confirmed that is targeting a “tiny group of people” who share so much content on a daily basis that it spams everybody’s newsfeed. Presumably, since Facebook said the update was being made on the day the statement was released, this change has already come into effect.

Why is this necessary?

Aside from the fact that most people find it a little annoying to see their newsfeed dominated by one person sharing meme after meme, Facebook also says it has identified a connection between people who “routinely share vast amounts” and poor quality content. It believes that such people prioritise quantity over quality, and tend to share misinformation and general clickbait rather than interesting, informative material.

It follows a May 19th blog post titled ‘Improving the Integrity of News Feed’ that appears to be an effort to tackle suggestions that social media sites like Facebook are helping the spread of propaganda and fake news. It uses words like ‘meaningful’, ‘informative’, ‘accurate’ and ‘authentic’ to describe the direction Facebook wants to move in, and emphasises the importance of safety and responsible behaviour. Crucially to this most recent change, it points out that people should not attempt to “game” the system so that they get a disproportionate amount of newsfeed coverage.

I don’t trust Facebook, can I do anything about spamming myself?

If there’s someone among your Facebook friends who tends to try your patience with the amount they post, but you don’t want to block them altogether, there’s already something you can do about it. Find one of the offending person’s posts on your newsfeed, click the downward pointing arrow in the top-right and select ‘Hide Post’. This will make the particular post you’ve chosen disappear from your newsfeed, but it will also mean you get the option to ‘see less’ from the culprit. If you select this, you should find that Facebook starts to prune the person’s posts a bit more, meaning you will still see some of what Facebook deems to be the best, but a lot of the chaff will be separated from the wheat.

Alternatively, you can leave it to Facebook as it continues to go through what is sure to be a trial and error system before it finds the sweet spot between freedom to share and responsible censorship.

John Murray

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