Facebook Cleans Up Trashy Posts, Drives Traffic To Publishers, Search Engines

Google, once known for driving major online traffic to publisher sites, might need to take a look at the Facebook Feed.

On Tuesday, Meta released Facebook’s third-quarter Widely Viewed Content Report, which shows that just one in the top 20 posts qualified as engagement bait -- down from 100% a year earlier. For the first time since the report has been produced, none of the top 20 posts violated platform rules.

“This report was created to both provide more transparency about the most-viewed organic content in Feed on Facebook in the US and to hold ourselves accountable to improve the quality of content on Facebook,” Anna Stepanov, head of Facebook integrity, wrote in a post.

The Widely Viewed Content Report aims to provide transparency and context about what people see on Facebook by sharing the most-viewed domains, links, Pages and posts for a given quarter on Feed in the U.S.

Insights into the various content types that appear on the Feed are intended to help people better understand the distribution systems and how this influences the content people see on Facebook.

Meta said it plans to expand the scope of the report, which appears along with the company’s quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Report.

Some 92.3% of the views in the U.S. during Q3 2022 did not include a link to a source outside of Facebook. The 7.7% of views in posts that did include a link typically came from a page that the person followed.

News domains on the list accounted for about 0.5% of all Feed content views.

Where did Facebook posts lead readers? YouTube had 160 million content views, followed by Media1.tenor.co with 113.2 million content views. Gofundme.com with 104.7 million, TikTok with 99.3 million, and Amazon with 72.4 million rounded out the top five.

Google came in at No. 18 on the list, with 48.1 million content views.

Top domains by organic Feed content viewers in the U.S. during Q3 2022 exclude Facebook and Instagram domains and also exclude log-in pages for email services such as Gmail.

The top 20 links collectively accounted for 0.01% of all Feed content views in the U.S. during Q3 2022. In Q2 2022 the number was 0.04%.

Business Insider, Insider, and CNBC were the top three destinations that benefited from links in feeds.

To address low-quality content, the company said it has improved the way it reduces highly viral engagement bait, introduced spacing rules to prevent multiple posts identified as engagement bait from showing up consecutively in Feed, improved detection and enforcement systems to better identify and reduce posts with unrelated links in Feed, and more.

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