Facebook has announced changes to its news feed, which will downgrade the placement of “clickbait” style headlines.
According to a blog post on the company’s site, they’ve heard enough negative feedback from the public regarding clickbait-style news stories (i.e. 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 alter their algorithms.
The company previously altered the News Feed to downgrade posts that caused people to click and then quickly return, but the problem has persisted, so they categorized a large group of clickbait headlines and built a dataset to work out from.
Clickbait titles, according to Facebook, can be classified by two criteria—withholding necessary information and misleading reader expectations.
“A team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using these criteria, validating each other’s work to identify a large set of clickbait headlines,” the blog post says. “From there, we 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. This is similar to how many email spam filters work.”
Those pages that continue to post clickbait-style headlines will find themselves continually downgraded until they stop.
Many publishers that rely on Facebook for distribution may be nervous, but the alteration will serve to clean up users’ news feed experience and eliminate false or misleading clicks.