Interesting Read from the Facebook Media Blog
August 23, 2018
Over the past few months, we have made updates to our Pages and our Branded Content policies banning Pages and Profiles from accepting compensation for systematically sharing large amounts of third party content, and we are increasing our enforcement efforts against such Pages and Profiles. These efforts align with our attempts to reduce clickbait on Facebook.
To help Pages and Profiles better understand and avoid these situations, we want to explain and outline here an example scenario based on what we’ve learned from Pages that previously have engaged in this practice.
How Do I Know If I’m Involved In A Sharing Scheme?
Online “content mills” produce large amounts of website content commonly focused on superficial lifestyle topics intended to drive comments, shares, and ultimately, clicks. Example content they churn out can include numerous listicles or far-fetched stories with sensational headlines. In typical scenarios, these “content mills” - often presenting themselves as high-quality digital publishers - approach Pages with high follower counts, using them to distribute large quantities of the content mill’s articles or videos.
Here’s an example:
Step 1: You (or your Page) are approached to join the program. An individual may reach out to you to discuss a business proposal. They will likely allude to the following:
Offer compensation for permissions to utilize your Page for posting content, and possibly request access to your Ads Manager account for running ads that will promote this content.
Claim that they are Facebook policy compliant, possibly referencing celebrities or other Pages they work with. They may even claim that they partner with Facebook.
Claim their content is compelling and frame this proposition as driving higher follower engagement and increasing Likes on your Page, when in reality, most of their content is sensationalist or clickbait.
Step 2: You sign an agreement and grant them access to your accounts. Once you’ve signed an agreement, you’ll likely need to grant them access to your accounts for posting. Typically, they will assign an account manager to work with you to “optimize the content” posted on your Page.
Step 3: Content begins to be posted on your Page and you receive compensation. You’ll begin seeing content appear on your Page that you did not post and this content may be edited and changed by the digital publisher’s team over time. You may also receive content for you to post. Your compensation will be based on how many people click on these posts and thereby drive traffic to their websites.
If you’ve experienced something similar to the above scenario and you’re in partnership with a third party, you are likely involved in a sharing scheme.
What Will Happen If I Continue?
While we try to give Pages an opportunity to stop this practice before we take action, if your Page has been identified as being involved in a sharing scheme and the behavior continues, your Page’s distribution will be significantly reduced. This means that your posts will reach fewer people and accrue a much smaller number of views. Any scenarios that are in violation of our Pages terms are susceptible to having their distribution limited. Repeat abuse could also result in losing access to monetization features on Facebook. For specifics posts and Pages that have had their distribution reduced, appeals can be made through the Facebook notification that alerts you of the violation.
Why Is Facebook Enforcing Against This?
This is an ongoing enforcement effort that ultimately helps to better connect quality content with viewers and fans. We want to ensure Pages that have built meaningful audiences and fans are not taken advantage of by third parties aiming to exploit large followings for their own revenue purposes.
What Do I Do?
You should stop posting content from this provider and cease any relationship to ensure that your posts and Page are not negatively affected and your own distribution reduced. You can remove admins from your Page by following these instructions or change permissions of admins on your Ads Manager through these instructions.
What Can I Do To Monetize My Page?
We continue to expand and improve our monetization offerings to enable publishers and creators to monetize quality content and build engaged communities on Facebook. The best way to position your Page or Profile to earn meaningful revenue from our monetization programs such as Branded Content or Ad Breaks is to share content that reflects your unique voice and keeps people coming back. In this vein, we recently launched an educational section focused on monetization within our Facebook for Creators page. Check it out to learn more about Facebook’s monetization programs.