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Facebook will punish spammy posts from would-be viral publishers that ask you to tag a friend or hit “like” in response to a post, the company said in a blogpost.

The phenomenon is becoming increasingly common on Facebook. Log into your account, and the chances are you will encounter what Facebook describes as “engagement bait” within a few short scrolls.

Facebook tag baitingIt’s common to find posts asking users to hit like, tag a friend, or react in some way. Shona Ghosh/Business Insider

According to Facebook, publishers use this tactic because higher engagement from likes and tags mean their posts will rank higher on Facebook’s news feed. And that makes it more likely you’ll see spammy posts when you log in.

Facebook said dedicated teams had reviewed and categorised hundreds of thousands of spammy posts to train a machine learning algorithm to detect them. Now posts that use engagement baiting will receive less exposure on Facebook’s news feed.

Pages that consistently use baiting tactics will be demoted, but Facebook will give publishers time to change their spammy ways.

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