Facebook is trying to make fewer crappy links show up on your feed

You know the ones – where the page you go to is full of an absurd number of ads.

Facebook doesn't want your news feed smothered with links to shady websites that have obnoxious or graphic ads.

So it's using artificial intelligence to try to identify those links and keep them away from your fingertips.

Facebook announced these changes to its feed algorithm Wednesday. Their goal is to reduce what they call "low-quality links," defined as "a web page containing little substantive content and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads."

Greg Marra, the product manager for Facebook's news feed, told TechCrunch Facebook users said links to misleading or spammy pages – including sexual or shocking content – were particularly annoying.

The site will also better enforce a policy it's had since last year that says ads can't contain low-quality or disruptive content.

The tweaks are starting to roll out immediately, but will continue to be added in the coming months, Facebook says.

How they're monitoring this

To make this happen, Facebook took a two-step approach.

The first involved reviewing "hundreds of thousands of web pages" that people linked to from Facebook, looking for ones that have flimsy content or those "disruptive, shocking or malicious ads," the release says.

Then they created an AI program to find patterns in those links, and use that to determine if a new link that's posted might also have flimsy content or those ridiculous ads.

"So if we determine a post might link to these types of low-quality web pages, it may show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad," Facebook writes. "This way people can see fewer misleading posts and more informative posts."

It will also be less of an incentive for spammers, Facebook says. Since many of the people that post the low-quality links do it to make money, if those links don't show up as much, there's less money to be made doing that.

So what constitutes a good web page?

In a separate update, Facebook has four qualities it lists as a bad experience:

  • Having way too many ads relative to how much content there is.
  • "Sexually suggestive" or "shocking" content.
  • Pages with deceptive or malicious ads.
  • And pop-ups ads, or interstitial ads (those are the ads that cover up the whole screen as you're trying to navigate).

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