TechCrunch: Your Facebook Page Reach is Down Because You’re Spammy

Do Facebook Users Think You Are Spammy? I’ve never been happier to read an article by TechCrunch…

Killing Rumors With Facts: No, Facebook Didn’t Decrease Page Feed Reach To Sell More Promoted Posts

Josh Constine, you’re my hero.

If you’ve been reading my blog (and of course you have been!), you know that I’ve become increasingly grumpy about this subject. I’ve felt like the old man screaming in an empty room.

It seems that everyone has made up their minds that 1) Reach is down, and 2) Facebook is forcing us to pay for ads.

My data doesn’t support it (read this or this). In fact, I’m entirely convinced that Reach means very little right now. Everyone is fixated on this number while very few people talk about metrics that matter.

Anyway, this blog post isn’t about that. It’s about two things. First, Josh Constine’s awesome mic drop article. Second, some instructions on another “silent killer of Facebook Page Reach” that you need to research.

Cause of Reach Issues: Spam Filters

I’ll just let Josh explain this…

Each news feed post has a drop-down arrow next to it that lets users hide it from their news feed or mark it as spam. Facebook made these controls more visible and easy to use in September. That let people who thought a Page was spammy report it to Facebook or remove it from their feed.

At the same time, Facebook updated EdgeRank to more aggressively punish spammy Pages, the way Google updates PageRank occasionally to push down the search result rank of spammy sites.

When the change was made, these spam reports went way up. But as Facebook collected this data along with information about Pages you engage with, users began seeing fewer and fewer of this spammy content. As a result, fewer spam reports were made.

Here is an image from PageLever (also from the TechCrunch article) that visualizes this initial spike and then slowdown of spam reports:

Pagelever Spam Data
Image courtesy of PageLever and TechCrunch

So what about the non-spammy Pages, right? They benefitted. Page Reach has remained relatively constant dating back to the beginning of July. Here is another chart from PageLever and TechCrunch:

Page Post Reach Graph PageLever TechCrunch
Graph courtesy of PageLever and TechCrunch

What does this mean? Once again, I’ll let Josh explain…

The amount of fans Pages were reaching has stayed relatively stable since July. However, the standard deviation of reach did shoot up. That’s because the few especially spammy Pages and those affected by an increase in news feed competition had their reach drop significantly, while the reach of Pages that almost never get spam reports got a boost. That’s the impact of Facebook’s changes to the spam reporting UI and the EdgeRank algorithm.

There’s more to Josh’s article, and I beg you to read it. Very well done.

Is Your Page Spammy?

I don’t know about you, but this was my first question. Whether or not you think your Page is spammy is irrelevant. Facebook users will tell you.

How do you figure this out? I’m glad you asked. There’s a video that walks you through this at the bottom. But here are the basic steps for finding out how many people have reported your Page for spam during the past five months…

1) Go to your Admin Panel.

2) Within the Insights widget, click See All.

3) Click Export Data.

4) Select a period of time lasting five months, leaving it on Page Level Data.

5a) Within cell A1 of the first tab (or really anywhere), type in this formula:

=SUM(‘Daily Negative Feedback User…’!F:F)

That should spit out the number of people who have reported you for spam during the past five months.

5b) Or you can run a search of the workbook for “spam_” and the first result should take you to the correct tab. You’ll know you’re on the right tab if the A2 cell reads…

Daily The number of people who have given negative feedback to your Page, by type. (Unique Users)

Then simply type the following formula anywhere within that tab, other than in the F column…


The number I get is 34, which is about .5% (that’s a half of one percent) of my total Fans.

Is that bad? I don’t have a point of reference. But I do know that my numbers haven’t suffered, so I am going to assume it’s acceptable.

How many people have reported your Page for spam? Are you seeing a corresponding drop in Reach and Engagement? Let me know below!


  • Scott Linklater

    Hmmm, I’m not so sure it’s as easy as that.

    My best performing page and the one that has amazing engagement levels and great reach is also the one that would have some of the highest levels of spam reports of any fan pages anywhere in the world!

    Why? Because it is a page about a sports team. A very large sports team with passionate supporters who love them…..but everyone else hates them! They are hated more than any other team in the competition.

    So the result is, the better a post performs the more times it is seen by “friends of fans”. Now quite often they will be “friends of the fans” but hate the team they are seeing in the post their friend is participating in.

    Then if you add in emotional or biased content that gets the fans liking, sharing and commenting on like mad men, you can be sure the spam reports will be even higher!

    So I’m not sure how this would be translated but if spam reports were directly effecting the reach of pages, this one would have been smashed in this latest facebook saga and it was not!



    • Jon Loomer

      I think it’s remains consistent here, Scott. Being reported for spam isn’t the only factor in determining whether or not you appear in News Feeds. It’s now easier to do that, so Facebook will pull more queues from the people who think you are spam. But you have a TON of people engaging, so that will be part of the determination. Clearly, those people engaging will continue to see your content a lot, and this engagement level is undoubtedly considered when surfacing to people who haven’t engaged much.

  • Kimberly Ann Jimenez

    I did the math for the past month. The main page I manage is a seasonal business, so I suspected that people would report it as spam during peak business season. Which happens to be accurate… However, this correlates with the time frame where most of the engagement occurs on the page. Fast forward to September…my reach struggles badly, nothing has changed since. The spam report is clean for the last two months which takes that possibility out of the equation. I know there are a million variables that might affect engagement & reach, but I feel like the past two months we’ve added cool features to the page and received awesome feedback from fans. The decrease on my page’s reach remains a mystery for now…

    • Jon Loomer

      Unfortunately, Kimberly, much of this will remain a mystery. We can try to piece it together and many people think they have it all figured out, but the truth is that we really have no idea. Just keep creating valuable content is really the best path to take!

  • Adrian Leighton

    Hi Jon, this is useful so thanks.
    I used your technique to confirm that I’m not spammy :)
    However my reach does seem to be down a little. I’m not saying it’s a ploy from FB to sell more advertising; I think it’s partly seasonal, partly due to them changing things up to make sure people get the content that interests them.
    I DO think that if I didn’t pay for promoted posts now my reach would be worse than, say, last year before promoted posts were around.

    • Jon Loomer

      The truth is, though, that the types of ads you are purchasing with Promoted Posts have been around for quite some time. It’s just that the existence of the Promote bottom makes it so much easier.

      Will you reach more people when you promote posts? Absolutely, that’s kind of the point. And if you get more engagement when you promote those posts, that will also help your future EdgeRank (presumably). So sure, that makes sense. But I don’t buy that Facebook intentionally kept fans from seeing your content to make you promote.

  • Andrew Martens

    Isn’t there also the option to go to a Page that you Like, and uncheck the “Show in News Feed” option? I tend to do that when I like a business or music artist, but grow weary of their too-frequent or irrelevant posts.

    I wonder how much of the decreased reach is due to users taking advantage of that.

    • Jon Loomer

      Great point, Andrew! Yet another way that people can choose not to see your content, thereby making it even less likely you’ll reach X number of fans.

      Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that Facebook handles this the same way as the “Hide All” in Insights. I don’t see this anywhere else.

  • Dan Polley

    I just checked, and there is a definite drop-off in reporting as spam or hiding posts or hiding all after Facebook’s algorithm change in October. So I would think that even if my reach numbers are down, I’m reaching people who are more inclined to appreciate my content.

    • Jon Loomer

      Very true, Dan. That, I think, is what many people are missing here. Reach may be down (not for all), but I’m seeing that in general that means that posts have been more efficient reaching the people most likely to engage. Being reported for spam is only going to prevent you from being seen by people who may care later, too (will impact EdgeRank), so it’s critical that you don’t waste the views you do get.

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  • Elika Joyce

    i got 2410, and my fans is only 150. thank you for the information. my fan page was not yet block and from now on i will control my posts. :)

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    if facebook really cared about killing spammy posts they wouldn’t take money to post them. if people don’t want to receive posts from a page they know where the Unlike button is. money grab, pure and simple.

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  • cesar

    Great Post…U explained a lot about facebook.

    Please, Can u help me?

    I can´t find my page on search result just typing some part of the total name that is “Igreja Organica Simples”.

    If I type on the bar seach of facebook “Igreja Organica” or “Igreja Simples” my page doesn´t show, but others pages like “Igreja Oganica Brasil” appear and It has the name “Brasil”. Why Does it occur If my page have the same part of the name of the others pages that is “Igreja Organica”?

    Other problem:

    1) On Seach results by “Igreja Orgânica” I´m listed below of pages with less likes than mine page. My page have 60 likes and I´m below of this pages: “Igreja Orgânica de Timbó” with 31 likes and “Igreja Orgânica Portugal” with 26 likes. why?

    2) After I wrote a Note I tagged my page with this tag “Igreja organica Simples” and I cannot save this Note because occur this error: “The content you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.”. Why?

    3) If I try to find my page using the button Find all pages named “igreja organica” it doesn´t list my page on search result. Why Does it occur if others pages are on list just by having this words “igreja organica” in some part of its names?

    Obs: Link to my page: