We’ve all seen them and we’ve all probably clicked on a few. Those headlines that challenge whether we’ll actually believe what we’re about to read are a fixture for some internet sites and in Facebook’s News Feed they can be especially annoying.
In a blog post out of its official newsroom on Thursday, the social media giant said it values “authentic communication” on its platform and that it works hard to surface stories that are regarded as “genuine” by its users.
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.”
To address the issue, Facebook is updating the News Feed by creating a system a system that identifies phrases that are commonly used in clickbait headlines. Tens of thousands of headlines are categorized as clickbait after two key points are considered, the blog post said.
- If the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is.
- If the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader.
Furthermore, Facebook built a system that “looks at the set of clickbait headlines to determine what phrases are commonly used in clickbait headlines that are not used in other headlines” similar to how many email spam filters work.
Links that are posted from or shared from Pages that use clickbait headlines will appear lower in the News Feed, essentially eliminating the value of being clickbait-y. And thus, those Pages will see their distribution via Facebook decrease.
So in the end, you WILL believe what could happen if you try to sell a story by leaving out key elements in the headline.