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Facebook warns Pages it is downgrading posts that use exaggerated health claims to promote products

Facebook announced on Tuesday it has made ranking updates to its News Feed algorithm, aiming to reduce posts that contain exaggerated or sensation health claims, as well as posts that promote or attempt to sell products or services based on health-related claims.

“We know that people don’t like posts that are sensational or spammy, and misleading health content is particularly bad for our community,” wrote Facebook Product Manager Travis Yeh, “Pages should avoid posts about health that exaggerate or mislead people and posts that try to sell products using health-related claims.”

Why we should care

Marketers managing Facebook Pages for healthcare products or services should be mindful of the messaging they are using on the platform. To determine if a post should be downgraded, Facebook gave the following clarification: “We consider if a post promotes a product or service based on health-related claim — for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

Facebook said it is identifying phases commonly used in these types of posts to predict which may include sensational health-related claims, and then demoting such posts lower in the News Feed.

Facebook’s example offers a pretty broad measuring stick in terms of how its algorithm is downgrading posts with health-related claims. It’s safe to say any posts from Pages that include exaggerated health claims or misleading content will be moved further down the News Feed. The company said the ranking updates fall in line with its previous moves to reduce low-quality content and clickbait headlines.

More on the news

  • The algorithm updates were rolled out last month.
  • Facebook said it does not anticipate Pages will see any significant changes to their distribution of content within the News Feed because of this update, barring those that may be trying to use exaggerated or misleading content around health-related claims.
  • In March, Facebook announced it was reducing the News Feed and Search rankings for groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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