Bloggers and Facebook: When are you spamming?

Social Spamming based on CC0 Public domain by Geralt
Spamming — the act of sending the same message indis­crim­in­ately to (large numbers of recip­i­ents) on the Internet.

The urban diction­ary defines spamming as “the act of obnox­iously doing something repeatedly for atten­tion or in order to disturb others.” As someone else, less than eloquently put it: “posting useless crap on forums over and over”.

Other thoughts about spam include:

  • Unsolicited posts or emails.

  • Undesired electron­ic messages.

  • Electronic junk mail.

  • Often based on a lie, or

  • Tries to con you into taking an action you would not other­wise perform.


Not about Hackers

Not HackedIt is neces­sary to be very clear, this article is NOT about other people hacking your Facebook account. That is, thank­fully, a rare occur­rence. Flagging your post as spam is, sadly, because of an action you have taken. These are problems, you as a blogger may encounter when using Facebook to publi­cise your own mater­i­al. Especially if you make use of automa­tion tools.

Website “That’s Nonsense” is clear “if your Facebook account is posting spam… somewhere along the line, you’ve done something you shouldn’t have”.

Maybe you have never had posts flagged, pray that contin­ues. But this is about being prepared should it happen.


The Challenge for the Blogger

The challenge for the blogger Is that they wish to get their message out to as wide an audience as possible and doing so at zero cost. Social media seems the ideal way to do precisely that. Yet, Facebook now checks all your messages for spam. This means they may block messages that you post repeatedly, you will see a notific­a­tion like:


We removed this post because it looks like spam and doesn’t follow our Community Standards…

We removed this post because it looks like spam to us. If you did post this and don’t believe that it’s spam, you can let us know.”


According to the Facebook Help Centre “Spam involves contact­ing people with unwanted content or requests”.


Are you Spamming?

Are you? Let us consider this for one moment. Your “Who should see this?” settings are normally set to either “Friends” or “Public”. You get a wider reach when set as “Public”. Additionally, those posts are search­able, sometimes they are visible in the stream of a person you are not connec­ted to, which can be a good thing.

If you create a post with a link to one of your blog pages, is that spamming? That is an inter­est­ing question, because it is certain someone, somewhere, isn’t inter­ested in the content you post. It is simply the natur­al order of things and there is nothing you can do to change that.

Facebook goes on to explain further. “This includes sending bulk messages, excess­ively posting links or images to people’s timelines and sending friend requests to people you don’t know person­ally”.


Public Messages

When the target reader­ship to “Public” then all messages are surely ‘bulk’. Arguably any message that provides a link could be considered spamming. It is a fine line to tread for anyone on Facebook. I never post things in other people’s Facebook wall, the news feed is the right place to post.

To use social media as a publi­city tool then it is neces­sary to under­stand how posts, partic­u­larly automated ones, can be considered spamming. Think about your actions for one moment. You are, above all, trying to entice people to go to your web site. It is true that you are not trying to con people, nor are you posting ‘useless crap’.

By defin­i­tion it is spamming. Yet, think about this for one second. How many posts do you see on Facebook that you ignore?  This is a large number. Mary is posting about her family holiday, Joe about his new motor­bike. Perhaps a work colleague has a peculi­ar polit­ic­al opinion you dislike, but they share great insights on work problems. People have a variety of feelings and exper­i­ences to share. Some we like others we dislike. You tune out the elements you dislike and tune in to relev­ant mater­i­al. Everyone does it. It is natur­al.

As a blogger you are trying to publi­cise your mater­i­al, which has relev­ance to other people. Many of those will use Facebook regularly. Your actions may have some simil­ar­it­ies to spamming, but any mater­i­al you publish is not spam, even if you are posting regularly via an automa­tion tool. Readers have a choice.


Day and Night

Quality by Geralt CC0 Public DomainThe reason it is not spam is that good bloggers will concen­trate on publish­ing quality mater­i­al. They will NEVER act obnox­iously. They will never delib­er­ately post useless mater­i­al with cynic­al disreg­ard for their readers. Indeed bloggers should demon­strate good manners and act respect­fully at all times. The differ­ence between a blogger and spammer is as clear as the differ­ence between day and night.

Bloggers are doing everything with the best of inten­tions, trying to reach a forever wider audience. Their actions are driven by the need to find one addition­al reader.

Of course conscien­tious bloggers do make mistakes. They do publish things that turn out as untrue. It is a part of being human. We err. There is no need to apolo­gise. The differ­ence between the blogger and the spammer is that bloggers do things with the best of inten­tions and get penal­ised because of it. The spammer finds a way to live on the edge, spamming and manip­u­lat­ing any system they encounter, twist­ing it to their advant­age and unashamedly make money from it.


Facebook Regularly Sends you Spam

Sponsorship by schnauzer CC0 Public DomainA massive differ­ence exists between a blogger trying to gain readers for his site and corpor­ate sponsored spamming. Even if their site does carry advert­ising, the blogger is unlikely to profit greatly from the action.

Facebook uses spamming as a technique to earn money from promoted posts. Remember those messages that say “John Smith, Max Baker and Bonny Cooke like Tablet Software”. They are promo­tion­al posts. It should also fall under one of the criter­ia of spamming, which is giving an impres­sion that isn’t true.

Bonnie Cooke would never “Like” this company, because she works for a direct compet­it­or and could lose her job if she did “Like” that company. Also Max Baker will never support any promo­tion­al page for any company, he never presses “Like” for any corpor­ate page. Yet your news feed contains such inform­a­tion every day of the week. They try to tempt you into taking an action you would not other­wise perform by liking the page or going to the advertiser’s website.

Of course Facebook targets promo­tion­al postings around your interests because the site retains a search history.

These posts fit my defin­i­tion of spam. But of course there is a differ­ence. Facebook makes money from this message. They make more money if you click the link. It is a form of advert­ising. However these types of sponsored posts may be contrary to advert­ising stand­ards in your nation.


Making Money

I have no objec­tion to Facebook making money through advert­ising but there is a differ­ence between the impres­sion given by these sponsored posts and the type of advert­ising I carry on GobbledeGoox. With this site it is clear what is advert­ising and what is content. Having a panel that says “Sponsored” is one thing, the advert­ising is clear.

Posting in a person’s news feed is, arguably, spamming, especially when a mis-truth is perpet­rated. Can we change how Facebook operates? No. They do what they wish. It is after-all their site. Nearly a billion views a day is certainly fertile ground to make money. My point is merely to inform bloggers so that they are prepared for all possib­il­it­ies when posting on Facebook.


Be Prepared

I am not suggest­ing that bloggers should leave Facebook. It is one of the few places where you can get the word out. There are plenty of automa­tion tools that you can use to get your message out through social sites.

Addressing as large a poten­tial audience as possible is a neces­sary part of blogging.

Services Social - phone by Geralt CC0 Public Domain from PixabayA earli­er post has highlighted the capab­il­it­ies of the Buffer applic­a­tion. I also use anoth­er tool called Recurpost, to gener­ate automated postings on Facebook and Twitter. There are plenty of tools that will help automate social media postings.

Remember by the defin­i­tion I gave earli­er any post enticing people to view our blog is poten­tially spam. Yet it is still the best tool to inform people about the articles that bloggers publish. Repeating posts is not spamming, but just good common sense.

If some of your posts are rejec­ted as being spam, simply go to the notific­a­tion screen and make it clear what you post is not spam. If possible turn off all automated posting systems for a couple of days. This can help reset­ting everything.


Friends Have a Choice 

Your Facebook friends have a choice, they don’t have to read your post. They could un-friend you if they really dislike your mater­i­al. If they are staying with you that your mater­i­al has value.

Generally, I have posit­ive feedback from a wide swath of Facebook friends, perhaps more so than for any other social network. 


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If you like this post then make a donation to the upkeep of GobbledeGoox . What are your thoughts on Spam and Facebook? Something to contrib­ute? Please leave a comment. The images here were either created or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay.

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