Facebook: No Space For Clickbait In Newsfeed

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Wondering what is Clickbait? Facebook said certain types of headlines would be classified as clickbait that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer. For example: “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!”; “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe”; or “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”

Facebook is declaring war on clickbait headlines. “We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles,” the social media giant said in a blog post.” To address this feedback from community, Facebook is making an update to News Feed ranking to further reduce clickbait headlines in the coming weeks. With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds.

The company made a big change at the end of June that was meant to prioritize posts from friends and family over posts from brands and publishers. This change is not as sweeping, but it will still affect what you see in the news feed, and it will affect how web sites produce news.

Facebook staffers Alex Peysakhovich and Kristin Hendrix said in a blog post that the company has “built a system to detect clickbait headlines.” It is “similar to how many email spam filters work,” they wrote. “Our system identifies posts that are clickbait, and which web domains and Pages these posts come from. Links from or shared from Pages that consistently post clickbait headlines will appear lower in News Feed. News Feed will continue to learn over time — If a Page stops posting clickbait headlines, their posts will stop being impacted by this change.”

They also addressed that how system is reducing clickbait headlines. In a blog post they mentioned “First, we categorized tens of thousands of headlines as clickbait by considering two key points:(1) if the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is; and (2) if the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader. For example, the headline “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…” withholds information required to understand the article (What happened? Who Tripped?) The headline “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” misleads the reader (apples are only bad for you if you eat too many every day). A team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using these criteria, validating each other’s work to identify a large set of clickbait headlines.”

Entire networks of web sites exist to win traffic through these types of headlines. The announcement didn’t address whether sponsored posts that is, posts that sites pay Facebook to bring more visitors to  would also be penalized for clickbait headlines.This is the second time Facebook has specifically tried to tamp down on the behavior. A round of algorithm tweaks to address clickbait were announced in August 2014.

We can all agree clickbait sucks, but it happens because it works. Even when I know I shouldn’t do it, I’ll sometimes click on an obvious clickbait simply because I’m curious, and that takes away from time that might be spent reading a higher-quality article. That’s why today change matters: Facebook has the power to stop clickbait from working, while making informative headlines more relevant.

Facebook is the largest social media platform, If Facebook hides clickbait, people won’t read clickbait.

Source: Facebook Newsroom

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