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NewFacebookLogoFacebook Takes Aim at News Feed Spam (AllFacebook)
The next posts from pages to be targeted in Facebook’s ongoing efforts to maintain the quality of its News Feed will be: posts actively seeking likes, comments or shares; photos and videos that are repeatedly shared; and deceptive, spammy links. Software engineer Erich Owens and product manager Chris Turitzin detailed the changes in a Newsroom post, addressing the concerns of page administrators by stressing that only pages creating these types of posts on a regular basis will be affected, and non-offending pages should see their reach rise, as a result. Inside Facebook Many times, passion pages or other types of non-business affiliated pages will share an image while begging for likes, comments and shares — launching the content into more News Feeds. However, Facebook says that this content is, on average, 15 percent less relevant than content with similar vital stats. Mashable Facebook is known for continually tweaking its News Feed algorithm, and this update joins a number of other major updates the algorithm has added in the last six months to try and clean up the content on News Feed. In December, Facebook updated the algorithm to surface more “high quality” content from news organizations while minimizing the prevalence of memes on the platform. GigaOM The network posted an example of what it means by like-bait: photos of a baby rabbit, a kitten, dolphins and a mosquito, posted by an account whose name is “When your teacher accidentally scrapes her nails on the chalkboard and you’re like whaaaaaat” (which would seem to break Facebook’s rules on real names, if nothing else). It asks users to like, share or comment — or ignore. Forbes Bold prediction: A bunch of Page owners will squawk when their traffic drops. But they can’t say they weren’t warned.

Drivers Take Selfies in Middle of Blocked LA Freeway (CNET)
My spleen is turned mildly beige at the idea that drivers who discovered they were stuck on a blocked freeway would get out of their cars, stand in the middle of the road and make like Ellen DeGeneres with a bunch of Hollywood high-rollers. Yes, they took selfies.

Zynga Names New CFO Ahead of Q1 Earnings Call (SocialTimes)
Thursday, social gaming company Zynga announced the addition of David Lee as chief financial officer and chief accounting officer. He replaces departing CFO and CAO Mark Vranesh, who will work with Lee in the coming month to ensure a smooth transition.

FTC Clears Facebook’s WhatsApp Acquisition in the U.S. (Re/code)
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday cleared Facebook’s proposed $19 billion dollar acquisition of mobile messaging startup WhatsApp. The deal is still subject to International regulatory approval, however, before being considered fully closed.

Researchers Use Tweets to Predict Unemployment [Study] (AllTwitter)
Researchers at the University of Michigan have created the Social Media Job Loss Index, which tracks job losses based on tweets like “I just lost my job! Can you believe it!” and “Well, I am now officially jobless. Time to spruce up the resume.” The Index plots official unemployment insurance claims numbers from the Department of Labor against a model that predicts unemployment by tracking tweets.

Disease Outbreak Warnings Via Social Media Sought by U.S. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
U.S. agencies want to expand their use of social media to spot potential biological attacks and outbreaks of deadly infectious diseases, including the new H7N9 avian flu that has killed dozens of people in China. “That’s the Holy Grail,” said Mark Dredze, an assistant research professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Sickweather adviser. “We’d love these systems to tell us there’s a brand new disease and it’s going to be a big thing.”

CNNx Empowering Digital, Second Screen Viewers to Customize Experience (LostRemote)
As part of CNN’s upfront presentation in New York City Thursday afternoon, which Lost Remote attended, the news network unveiled CNNx; a new technology that empowers the digital and second screen viewer to virtually control the rundown of their news experience. The 24/7 program, which has been in the works for a year, allows authenticated viewers the ability to operate CNN TV’s rundown of previous and upcoming segments.

Can Stephen Colbert Compete with the Jimmys in Late-Night Social Media Wars? (Deadline)
In the news about The Colbert Report host taking over as host of Late Show sits one question David Letterman never really tried to answer: How will Stephen Colbert use social media to lock in a young, eagerly sought TV audience that isn’t much interested in mainstream entertainment? The social-media crews behind late-night competitors Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel have been flooding online audiences with viral YouTube videos and nifty posts on Twitter and Facebook, each trying to grab audience attention that will translate to TV ratings.

How Bad Content Goes Viral (SocialTimes)
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) recently removed a three-minute promotional video from its YouTube channel after it was described by local news media as “so bad it will go viral,” and was called out online for its flimsy production, scripting, acting and overall cheesiness. The clip depicts a Filipino couple taking in various sights around Singapore.