Facebook are making changes to penalise users and page owners that resort to “engagement bait" - or rather - content that openly encourages users to like, comment or tag people in the comments section.
It's a necessary move by Facebook. Of late, the majority of my News Feed appears to be my friends sharing/reacting to media publishers' content. It's often the result of the publisher in question pushing out reaction bait (like if you think X, love if you think Y) or share bait (tag a friend that Z).
When I first joined Facebook, my friends would share original, personal content. It made for a wildly sticky product. A decade on, and the propensity for my network to disseminate this type of content has declined a lot. This is certainly true of myself. I imagine this digital reticence and general shift in user culture is a function of the following narratives:
(i) "If I share a personal experience, will anyone I care about even see it?"
(ii) "If I share a personal experience, will that information be used to turn me into a profit-making opportunity?"
Facebook are evidently pretty worried about the double-digit decline in "original broadcast sharing". And not without good reason. It's the foundation upon which the platform was built, and if this user behaviour continues to decline over the coming years, I think it will put Facebook's core product at existential risk. Fortunately for them, their deep pockets have meant they can gobble up most other products with super-engaged, growing userbases - Instagram and tbh to name just two. Over the coming years, it'll be interesting to see if they manage to correct this crucial metric, or whether they'll continue to eat everything that poses a future threat to their dominance.
A lot of crap gets shared on Facebook, but coming soon the volume may be a little less after Facebook made a move to penalize content that shamelessly begs people for engagement. The social network giant said today that it will penalize Page owners and people who resort to “engagement bait,” which means posts that encourage users to like, comment or tag people in the comments section in order to gain wider visibility of their content.