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You will never believe what Facebook is doing to clickbait headlines

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Publishers using clickbait headlines will find their posts ranking lower and appearing less in Facebook’s News Feed. Clickbait headlines are crafted to exploit the curiosity of users, by giving incomplete information, exaggerating the content, or having a headline that has little to do with the story. The move is based on user feedback. Facebook does not want users to click through a link, and quickly come back. The move is meant to give users more choice over how they spend their time, and not mislead them to sites and stories they might not want to visit.


The update to News Feed now identifies commonly used phrases in clickbait headlines. The two main criteria for identifying clickbait headlines, are the completeness and validity of the information. If the headline is sincere, tells the whole story, and is factually accurate, then the posts will not be affected. Further, Facebook will track publishers who frequently use clickbait headlines, and reduce the rankings of their posts in the News Feed. The filtering system for clickbait works similar to spam filters in email services. The process of identifying, and ranking is continuous. This means that the publishers will stop being affected by lower visibility on the News Feed if they stop using clickbait headlines.

Facebook has been focusing on the authenticity of communication for some time now. It introduced targetted posts in the News Feed which allows publishers to deliver their posts to those most interested in reading and sharing them. News Feed prefers posts by family and friends over organisations. Because of these changes, the number of clickbait headlines in the News Feed had already been reduced, but apparently that was not enough. Users still complained about an inordinate amount of clickbait headlines in their News Feeds, which is why Facebook has taken further steps to reduce them. Facebook announced the changes yesterday, and the changes will be coming in to effect immediately.

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