Tackling Facebook Engagement Bait

PromoVeritas – Your Legal Team
10th April 2019
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The backlash from Facebook’s fake news scandals, technical glitches and massive data security breaches has meant that the world’s biggest social media platform needs to keep its followers from losing faith. Over the past few years Facebook has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of its feeds and ‘foster more authentic engagement’ by reducing spammy behaviour.

There are certain types of engagement on Facebook known as ‘engagement bait’ being targeted and referred to as ‘spammy’. Almost two years ago, Facebook announced that posts that which involve entrants liking, sharing, commenting etc. are said to be taking advantage of news feeds, using ‘engagement bait’ tactics in order to gain attraction, attention and involvement.

So, what do Facebook define as ‘engagement bait’ and what sort of posts are being criticised and taken down?

During the initial phase of tackling this, Facebook reviewed and categorised numerous posts to determine which posts are spammy and should be been seen fewer times for users when scrolling through posts. Facebook doesn’t discriminate and this affects posts in most major languages.

React baiting – This is when a post asks people to react to a post using one of the ‘reaction emojis’ and the issue with this type of engagement according to Facebook, is that this encourages users to inaccurately and inappropriately use reactions.

Share baiting – This involves asking consumers to share a promotional post in order to be entered into some sort of prize draw. Under promotional compliance law – this is not permitted in any circumstances, but often brands and fake brand pages run promotions which ask consumers to enter through this mechanic. For example, often fake airlines/holiday package companies will share an image asking entrants to share the post on their timeline in order to be in for the chance of winning a luxury holiday. These types of promotions often get tens of thousands of entries, in which the post is shared on numerous occasions, causing spammy behaviour, which is not allowed.

Tag baiting – Again, under compliance laws and the rules of Facebook, promoters are not permitted to share a post and ask consumers to comment below and tag their friends, family members or someone they wish to take on holiday with them. Facebook have stated that they do not like this, and promoters who do this should stop now before potentially being penalised. Alternatively, promoters can ask entrants to comment and say who they would like to bring on holiday but without tagging a specific person e.g. ‘I would take my mum because…’.

Facebook are tackling this type of ‘engagement bait’ quite rigorously, and ads that they deem to be of poor quality will be withdrawn or will be shown to fewer users than would typically see the post. Promoters must simply follow Facebook’s own rules to prevent spammy behaviour – so never asking followers to share a post or tag anyone else to enter – but beware of using wording like ‘share’ or ‘sharing’ in your post as Facebook’s and instead just say ‘comment’ or ‘tell us below’ to avoid detection by Facebook’s bots. For advice on running effective and compliant promotions on Facebook, or anywhere on social media contact PromoVeritas

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