Facebook targets social media optimization spam

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Facebook announced a crackdown on spam characterized by “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Spammers avoided detection by using engaging content. The content itself was not spam. So, Facebook has changed its tactics by using behavioral signals to identify spammers.

What type of spam is Facebook targeting?

Facebook targets a kind of spam that uses knowledge of Facebook’s algorithms to drive traffic to advertising-laden websites. This is an unconventional and unconventional form of social media optimization.

Social media optimization (SMO) is similar to search engine optimization (SEO). Both approaches are used to increase traffic to a website. The difference is that SMO leverages social media while SEO focuses on search engines.

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SMO, when properly performed, abides by Facebook’s Terms of Service. What Facebook is targeting is the SMO breaking the rules.

SMO spam exploits flaws in Facebook’s algorithms to increase the reach of their content. The goal is to send massive amounts of traffic to what Facebook calls Ad Farms.

SMO spam is different from the usual spam that Facebook fights.

Here is Facebook’s description of traditional spam activity:

“… A common type of spam has been posts that sell fraudulent products like fake sunglasses or weight loss ‘cures’. “

And here’s how Facebook describes the new type of spam:

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“But a lot of the spam we see today is different. The people behind this are creating Pages networks using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names. They post clickbait messages on these pages to direct people to websites that are entirely separate from Facebook and that look legitimate, but are in fact ad farms. “

Spammers Influence Facebook News Feed Algorithm

SMO spammers use Facebook’s own algorithms against this. For example, spammers artificially inflate user engagement metrics on their Facebook pages. This increases the reach of these pages in the news feeds. Increasing their reach helps spammers drive traffic to their ad farms.

How spammers deceived Facebook

Facebook previously used engagement metrics to increase the reach of trivial content like memes, videos, and quizzes. Facebook has changed its algorithms to reward more meaningful content.

In the new algorithm, Facebook increased the reach of more meaningful content, content that generated more engagement. And these are two of the flaws exploited by SMO spammers.

SMO spammers created political content that engaged people in discussions. This in turn generated engagement measures.

Spammers then used hundreds of Facebook pages and accounts to generate engagement signals.

“” The people behind the activity also post the same clickbait messages to dozens of Facebook groups, often hundreds of times in a short period of time, to increase traffic to their websites. And they often use their fake accounts to generate fake likes and shares.

… These networks are increasingly using sensational political content – regardless of political orientation – to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site. “

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Facebook targeting behavior signals

Because the content is not spam per se, spammers may have evaded detection. Facebook has learned this to target behavioral signals from spammers. That way, they will be able to capture what Facebook calls “inauthentic behavior”.

“This is why it is so important that we look at the behavior of these actors, for example if they use fake accounts or repeatedly post spam, rather than their content when we decide which of these accounts, pages or groups to delete. “

As of that date, Facebook has deleted 559 spam Facebook pages and 251 fake Facebook accounts. Facebook promises to improve its ability to catch SMO spammers. No doubt SMO spammers will adapt to Facebook’s countermeasures.

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Read the full Facebook ad here:
Removing additional inauthentic activity from Facebook


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