Facebook gears up to punish ‘Clickbait’ articles with its latest algorithm

Facebook screen on smartphone

Clickbait articles are a reason why many of us think before clicking on any random article on the internet. With their “teaser” nature, they manage to get a lot of clicks. These headlines look promising, but when a user opens the link, the content turns out to be malicious. These pages are stuffed with multiple links that trigger at once and open in many windows. We hate them, but we keep falling for those headlines, especially when browsing Facebook newsfeed. Thankfully, it looks like the social media giant has had enough of these Clickbait articles and is now taking harsh steps to kerb them.

On its newsroom page, Facebook stated that it will now prioritise articles by headlines. Facebook’s new algorithm is made to filter fishy Clickbait-y titles out of the feed. The blog further says,“withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is and headlines that exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations”.

Facebook even gave an example of Clickbait headlines in the blog post:

  • “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?!”

These are just a few examples of how Clickbait headlines. It counts as the second attempt by Facebook to banish Clickbait articles from the news feed. Interestingly, in August 2014, the website declared changes to its newsfeed based on the amount of time people spent on a post. Based on its study, it started punishing publishers who used Clickbait headlines to accumulate clicks.

On the blog post, Facebook also said,“If [users] click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something they wanted,”

Facebook investigated thousands of headlines, judging as “clickbait” those that purposely keep critical information and those that practice misrepresentation to trick the reader. Publishers who “consistently” post clickbait articles will face punishment by getting an inferior position in the newsfeed. If publishers discontinue using clickbait titles, they will not be penalised.

In case you want to explore the world of clickbait articles, here is an entire Reddit thread dedicated to them.

A 90's kid, who has witnessed the evolution of technology - from landline to smartphones. Been there, used that! Love trying out new gadgets and writing about them.