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Facebook quietly tweaks its algorithm again, penalizing those who “copy and republish”

Facebook has updated its News Feed algorithm again, this time to reduce visibility of low-quality sites that tend to duplicate content from other publishers, without adding any value.

“We’re rolling out an update so people see fewer posts that link out to low-quality sites that predominantly copy and republish content from other sites without providing unique value,” it announced.

Interestingly, the social network snuck in the change earlier this week without any fanfare, by updating a Newsroom post from May 2017, where it announced that fewer links to low-quality web pages would be included in the News Feed.

Possibly not wishing to draw attention to yet another algorithm update that affects publishers, it opted to mention it as an addendum at the bottom of a 17-month-old post.

The update links to Facebook’s publisher guidelines, which suggests that legitimate publishers use its Rights Manager to safeguard their intellectual property. Rights Manager is for publishers that want to protect content they publish on Facebook.

“This update is one of many signals we use to rank News Feed, so impact will vary by publisher, and Pages should continue posting stories their audiences will like,” Facebook said.

Publishers should focus on posting accurate, authentic content.

The social network cautioned that publishers should ask themselves the following questions before posting content:

  • Did I create all of the content myself?
  • Do I have permission to use all content I didn’t create that’s included in my post?
  • Does my use of the content I didn’t create fall within an exception to copyright infringement?
  • Is the content protected by intellectual property rights (for example, is it a short phrase, idea or public domain work)?

The publisher guidelines further state, “You can only post content to Facebook if it doesn’t violate the intellectual property rights of another party. The best way to help make sure that the content you post to Facebook doesn’t violate copyright law is to only post content that you’ve created yourself.”

There are of course certain exceptions, and it clarifies, “You might also be able to use someone else’s content on Facebook if you’ve gotten permission (for example, a license) from the owner of that content, or if you know that your use is covered by fair use or some other lawful exception to copyright.”

Click here to review Facebook’s “publisher principles,” in their News Feed Publisher Guidelines.