Facebook has announced that it will expand its efforts to reduce clickbait articles in people’s news feeds in an attempt to show users “authentic stories”. The update will only cut the number of clickbait stories so you may still see some from time to time. The update will roll out over the coming weeks.
Clickbait articles are those which create suspense in the title then require users to click through reams of pages to find the information they were promised in the title.
Describing how the update will impact clickbait articles, Facebook says:
“We are focusing more effort on this [reducing clickbait], and are updating News Feed by using a system that identifies phrases that are commonly used in clickbait headlines. 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.”
Facebook’s system will gradually learn about web domains and Pages which consistently post clickbait articles, and these will eventually be relegated down the News Feed. If a Page stops posting clickbait headlines, their posts will stop being affected by this change.
Facebook doesn’t expect many Pages to suffer from the new change however it says that websites and Pages that rely on clickbait content should expect their distribution to decrease. It said, “Pages should avoid headlines that withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is and headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations.”