Last week, Facebook announced its latest step in the war on clickbait. Previously, the company has clamped down on clickbait through its Quality Panel, or by targeting content that leaves the user unimpressed enough to jump straight back to their News Feed.
Facebook is getting more sophisticated, using headline analysis to understand if an article is actually clickbait or not.
The company explained the move in a blog post:
“Our goal with News Feed is to show people the stories most relevant to them – ranking stories so that what’s most important to each person shows up highest.
“People have told us they like seeing authentic stories. That’s why we work hard to understand what type of stories and posts people consider genuine, so we can show more of them. We also work to understand what kinds of stories people find misleading and spammy to help make sure people see those less.
“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 this, we’re making an update to News Feed to further reduce clickbait headlines. People will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see in their feeds.”
Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using this criteria – validating work to identify a large set of clickbait headlines.
Will this impact my Page?
Facebook anticipates that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution as a result of this change. However, Pages that rely on clickbait-style headlines should expect their distribution to decrease. 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.
Facebook has promised to learn from changes, and will continue to work on reducing clickbait so the News Feed is a place for authentic communication.