Facebook is cracking down on webpages with 'spammy' and misleading ads

Spammy ads Facebook exampleFacebookA mockup of the kinds of ads Facebook is trying to block with this new change to the News Feed.

Facebook is going after the “spammy,” trashy ads that litter the underbelly of the internet by demoting websites that show them in the News Feed, the company announced on Wednesday.

Links that feature deceptive ads, more ads than actual content, and sexually suggestive ads will be punished as part of this change to the News Feed’s algorithms. The announcement follows the social network’s moves in recent months to block advertisements from websites that are deemed to be promoting fake news.

“We are really going after the worst of the worst,” Facebook VP of ads Andrew Bosworth told Business Insider during a recent interview. “The people who are going to be affected by this are not going to have defenders.”

To identify websites with offending ads, Facebook’s algorithms reviewed hundreds of thousands of webpages and matched the worst offenders to similar links shared in the News Feed. Bosworth said that Facebook users had reported clicking on similar webpages as being an “unsatisfying experience.”

“The impact is really going to vary a lot by publisher,” he said, noting that publishers with offending ads will see a decrease in traffic from Facebook, while publishers without offending ads should see an increase. He said the crackdown, which will roll out over the coming months, was mainly focused on financially demotivating spam networks that use Facebook to boost their traffic.

“This is an adversarial environment where spammers are going to try to game whatever we roll out,” he said.

For companies like millennial news publisher Mic, Facebook’s move to block low-quality advertising is a sign that their stories will have a better chance of reaching more people.

“The idea is that quality news and fact-based reporting will be able to find audiences more quickly, and it will help to elevate what we’re doing,” Mic chief strategy officer Cory Haik told BI. She said that websites like Mic have been competing with spam-fuelled publishers for attention in the News Feed.

“It makes it harder for users to understand what’s real and what’s valid journalism,” she said.

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