Lately, if like me you do a lot of searches on Google, you’ve probably stumbled upon top results pointing to Facebook and that are nothing but short replicas of a Wikipedia article. As a simple example, a search for French aviator Louis Paulhan will return the wikipedia page first and then in position 4 or 5 will appear the Facebook page about Louis Paulhan:
There are many more examples, just try any Wikipedia article title and you’ll get a meaningless result pointing to Facebook. I say meaningless because these are just short blurbs of Wikipedia article with no additional information or comments. It’s a complete waste of time to click on these results and to add insult to injury, these Facebook pages are sometimes plastered with ads.
Can you imagine if Google were doing the same thing? Content farming Wikipedia articles and positioning them on top with ads? Why should Facebook get away with it? I’ve always been annoyed by this issue but didn’t think anything could be done about this problem (except waiting for googlers to fix it).
Yesterday, I got some hopes when I saw Matt Cutts replying to @wycats here:
@wycats reported. The wiki url looks strange, e.g. “Red%E2%80%93black_tree”. Agree the FB item is duplicate content.— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) March 9, 2012
@mattcutts I am a bit concerned that FB is becoming a duplicate content haven. Might be hard to penalize them well…— wycats (@wycats) March 9, 2012
Let’s hope they can act on it. Funny thing is that if they don’t do anything they’ll be accused of being easily gamed and if they do act on it they’ll be accused of censuring Facebook results on their webpage…