Changes to Facebook rules- ‘engagement bait’ and how to keep yourself out of trouble...

Changes to Facebook rules- ‘engagement bait’ and how to keep yourself out of trouble...

Caroline Gill
2nd January 2018

We’ve all seen the posts, and we’re probably aware of serial offenders amongst our friends who will share anything that says ‘share this if…’

The more naive social media users might genuinely think they’re making a difference, but at best all the poster is trying to do is increase their reach because they know that posts receiving likes, shares, comments or reactions have that effect — because it gives Facebook the impression that their page is sharing interesting things.

At worst, they’re actually (inadvertently or otherwise) spreading some pretty awful stuff, often under the guise of honorable causes...

Facebook gets that this kind of post isn’t helping anyone and just takes up room on a News Feed where we’d rather see other things. So, what they’re starting to do now is to scan posts for what they call ‘engagement bait’ and reduce the reach of those posts, eventually penalising people and pages who continue to do it.

Here are some examples Facebook has provided about the kind of thing we shouldn’t be doing: 

So what should we do differently?

Hopefully not much! What Facebook is trying to do is to keep our News Feeds authentic — by showing content that people genuinely find useful and want to engage with. And that’s what we should all be doing anyway, right?

Of course we want our content to get to as much of our audience as possible — and by creating the right stuff (and of course boosting posts with not a huge amount of money if we need to), we can still do this. After all, our students are already wise to engagement bait, having rolled their eyes at their Great Auntie Margaret sharing every missing dog post in the UK last year…

So, when it comes to content: make it relevant to your audience, don’t try to bribe people to like, share, comment or react for no reason... and it’s all good!

Is it ever ok?

There are some instances where allowances will be made, and to quote Facebook: ‘Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update’.

What we’re going to do

Well, we won’t be recommending our clients use engagement bait to link to their Browzer site obviously, but we’ll also be checking their Facebook pages as much as we can and providing guidance to make sure they’re not penalised. It’s in all of our interests that the good stuff gets to students after all! 

What happens next?

Hopefully we’ll have less rubbish to scroll through on our News Feed — hurray! Aside from that, we’ll have to keep an eye on how this might impact Twitter for example. So far the reaction there has been predictably sarcastic

If you want to talk to us about how we help our clients navigate social media and get great content to students to help them get the most out of uni, email

Thanks for reading! Until next time...