Klick Health

When is it spam? Facebook edition

Senior Director, Social Media

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This week we were doing some listening and the condition in which we were interested showed up a lot on Facebook. Because most social listening current tools are unable to really do much with the Facebook data, we tend to download it and get basic insights from Excel manipulations Sometimes we’ll do natural language processing (NLP) but that’s a topic for a different post.

Whenever I dive into the Facebook content it strikes me how difficult it is to determine spam from simply terrible posts (terrible being a personal judgement call). Facebook is a place where Buzzfeed-style content can get a lot of shares centered around quizzes such as:

Also, an analysis of Facebook posts found that images were almost a requirement for increased sharing:

Shares with and without image compared. Images win.

Shares with and without image compared. Images win.

So, what about that spam?

When we look at Facebook data, in this case for Parkinson’s Disease, we get data that looks like this:

The top shared story titles from Facebook - difficult to tell the difference between spam and legitimate conversation.

The top shared story titles from Facebook – difficult to tell the difference between spam and legitimate conversation.

The first story about “amazing scientific reasons” is actually about traditional medicine from India and gathered a lot of interest, so it’s not spam. Others are more obvious, such as the ones that are selling products, especially “realfarmacy.com” which, from its name, could be an Rx farm (just kidding).

So, when looking at Facebook data, always ask the question:

Did a human analyst look at these results? Or, are they just from the listening tool?

More About the Author

Brad Einarsen

Brad is Klick's Senior Director leading the social practice. His group ensures that clients get the best bang for their buck on the social platforms.

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