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Facebook Reins In Spammy Auto-Sharing Apps with New Rule

Is your newsfeed is packed with dozens of videos and articles shared by apps your friends use? Facebook hears your pain

If you Facebook news feed is clogged with spammy updates from auto-sharing apps, this might help. Facebook introduced a new rule that won't allow apps to automatically share on your timeline articles or videos unless you have been reading or watching for at least ten seconds.

It's easy to why Facebook is making this move. If you're like me, your newsfeed is packed with dozens of videos and articles shared by apps your friends subscribed to. While interesting for a while, the feed can quickly become spammy as people click around on websites and their activity is pushed automatically onto the social network.

Some of the worst offenders for this sort of spammy behavior are newsreading apps, as well as apps such as Viddy, Pinterest, and Socialcam. What's even more annoying is that if you click through an article, for example, you have to get the particular app before you can read it.

Is This Enough?

When Facebook introduced the Timeline auto-sharing -- of frictionless sharing -- apps in January, the idea seemed like a good one. Very quickly apps like the Washington Post social reader app gained more then 17 million users and around 10 million for Socialcam.

But not before long, users realized the frictionless sharing had its downsides, as it could clog up your newsfeed -- hence the recent reports that social reading apps users are fleeing in droves. To alleviate the problem, Facebook then changed the way it shares articles your friends read, grouping them under Trending Articles (two different designs in a month), and later introduced a similar panel for Trending Videos.

But perhaps the most useful improvement so far is the ten-second rule. This should came particularly handy when you have been misled by the title of an article or video, or it's simply not what you are expecting. Ten seconds might not be long, but it should be enough to at least cut down on the number of embarrassing auto-shares.

Follow Daniel Ionescu and Today @ PCWorld on Twitter.

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