Regardless of your feelings towards automatically playing videos, clicking on something that appears to be a video and finding out that its a hyper linked image that opens to a site you weren’t expecting is even worse. Facebook isn’t excited about it either, and the company is taking steps to reduce the visibility of both types of fake videos on the social network.
According to an announcement on Thursday, Facebook’s news feed algorithm is going to penalize photo posts that mimic video thumbnails – including play button and all – and even video posts that feature only a static image.
“During the coming weeks we will begin demoting stories that feature fake video play buttons and static images disguised as videos in News Feed,” said Facebook engineers Baraa Hamodi, Zahir Bokhari and Yun Zhang in a blog post.
Once the Facebook computers see that there is a photo that contains a fake play button, or there is a lack of motion in a “video,” it’ll lower the ranking of that post in people’s news feed. Keep in mind, it isn’t going to remove the post or penalize the Pages that publish it or the sites they link to. There will be no impact with this update, although the Facebook advertising policy does indeed prohibit brands from uploading ads with fake play buttons and static-image videos.
These fake videos that are being targeted have recently become popular among publishers as an uncool way to game Facebook for both website visits and video views. Meme photos published as videos can fetch millions of views on Facebook.