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Facebook to overhaul games and reduce spam

Monday, 15th August 2011 01:38 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Facebook is set to make changes to how it handles games, in order to meet criticism that users find their news feeds clogged with app spam.

Facebook plans to implement a rankings system that measures how users respond to game content – by following links, liking, and sharing – to judge how spamalicious each game is.

“In the past we’ve used some pretty blunt instruments to deal with a problem we had, which was that some people really loved seeing game content in their feeds, and others felt it was spammy,” Facebook’s Carl Sjogreen told Gamasutra.

“So with these ranking changes we’ve done a much more nuanced job of trying to understand the quality of game content on Facebook as reported by users. If an app is contributing content that gets clicks, likes, et cetera, we consider that premium content.”

In addition to gathering metrics, Facebook will introduce user feedback tools, asking which games players would recommend and which annoy them, and introduce a “game ticker” giving active players notifications from games they use regularly.

Ccomments from games partnership head Sean Ryan suggested Facebook’s troubled relationship with games boils down to its creators being taken bu surprise by the platform’s success.

“To everyone’s surprise, games took off. This is not a games company at core,” he said.

“But by last year we had an unbelievable games and growth story, but it was impacting other areas of the platform.”

For the last year, facebook has been looking at ways to “re-open virality” for games while downplaying the unfortunate spam side effects.

“We have a product team focused specifically on making the games better on Facebook,” Sjogreen said.

“We want to encourage better and better games on Facebook, and new types of games that couldn’t exist on Facebook before, because of our framework.”

Google+ recently added games to the social network’s offering, taking pains to control content and make it easy for users to switch off activity notifications.

Thanks, Joystiq.

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