Not the first time, and certainly not the last—Facebook has once again tweaked its News Feed algorithm in order to keep the posts its members see relevant. This time around, the social media giant has vowed to wipe out clickbait. This move will no doubt be hailed by Facebook users and professional journalists who are constantly being frustrated by some desperate publishers trying to lure people to their websites.
Facebook has set out to detect specific words, structures, and styles in some titles, aimed at luring people to websites. These words or titles as the company puts it, “intentionally” omit vital information, thereby forcing people to click to find out or read more. On many occasions, users are left frustrated and disappointed when they click to visit the website only to discover that the title was misleading. Going forward, users will be seeing less of titles aimed at luring people to click a link.
“We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines 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 wrote on Thursday.
To deal with this problem and make its platform more interesting to its more than 1.7 billion users, Facebook says it is using a system that identifies phrases commonly used in clickbait headlines. The social network company has categorized “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.”
Here are some samples that may draw the ire of Facebook:
- “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”
- “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”
- “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…”
- “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!”
A lot of us have fallen for some of those headlines only to find out that they were just clickbait. Going forward, Facebook says only articles with transparent and informative headlines will rank higher in its news feed, while potential clickbait will now rank lower.
Since clickbait will now be ranked lower in your news feed, it simply means Facebook is not totally killing it off. In essence, clickbait will still show up on your news feed once in a while. However, since a system has been put in place to deal with this situation, it won’t be as rampant as it used to be.
Hopefully this encourages writers to post quality articles on Facebook because that is precisely what the social network company aims to achieve.
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