Facebook Is Starting a Crackdown on ‘Clickbait’ Headlines


facebook-likeThink of all the times you’ve been scrolling on your Facebook feed and seen a headline that implies it is hiding something very shocking or life-changing. Think of all the times you’ve clicked those links only to find that there is absolutely nothing to be learned once you are on the hosting website. Surprise! You got clickbaited. Websites get sweet, sweet cash money every time you load up a page of theirs with an ad on it, so while you spent 15 seconds trying to figure out what the headline was referring to, they were profiting.

It’s not fair. It wastes your time and it incentivizes websites to pump out clicky garbage like crazy. (This is all to say nothing of the unfortunate career landscape the prevalence of clickbait provides to freshly-hatched journalism grads, many of whom have had to slum it and write enticing headlines for slideshows of celebrities in bikinis to make the rent after college. It’s even more dehumanizing than trying to break into the biz via personal essay.)

Facebook feels your pain and they’re probably not really thrilled about sites redirecting their users, either, so they’re cracking down. The way that they approached the topic is particularly funny and noteworthy:

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.”

This week, they will start implementing a feature similar to the spam filter in your email inbox. The goal is to detect clickbait headlines and push them farther down your feed so real articles and updates from friends appear closer to the top.

Are you excited or do you actually enjoy being told you absolutely won’t believe what happens next?

h/t CNN Money

[image via screengrab]

Lindsey: Twitter. Facebook.

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