You won’t guess which giant tech company is finally doing something about click-bait! It’s Facebook, as they announced today in a blog post about new changes to the news feed that will help reduce the prevalence of click-bait headlines in your feed. That way you don’t have any trouble finding all those important cat videos and self-righteous fitness tracker posts.
For those who don’t work for the Internet and maybe don’t know the delicate balance between an click-bait and an interesting headline, click-bait is the practice of writing a headline that is deliberately vague just to get someone to click on it. Writing an eye-catching headline is certainly an important part of what bloggers and journalists do, but click-baiting is purposefully omitting information that would allow a reader to decide if they’re interested in a story or not. The only way to find out if the article is interesting is by giving it a click, and curiosity often makes it hard not to do that.
Here’s an example right from Facebook’s blog and why they’re not too happy about it:
[W]hen we asked people in an initial survey what type of content they preferred to see in their News Feeds, 80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through. Over time, stories with “click-bait” headlines can drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.
To help cut down on the practice, Facebook plans to tweak the newsfeed algorithm so that articles that don’t hold readers’ interest for long after clicking or that don’t get comments and shares on Facebook aren’t shown to users as often. They’ve been making a lot of similar changes to the newsfeed lately to make sure your feed doesn’t wind up full of things you don’t want to see, but this is the first time they’ve mentioned specifically targeting click-bait.
But you can rest easy if you aren’t deliberately click-baiting, as Facebook says:
A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months.
*Cough* UpworthyIthinkthey’retalkingtoyou *cough.*
Actually, Upworthy isn’t scared according to founder Adam Mordecai with this highlighted quote from Facebook’s post:
Upworthy wrote a blog post at the beginning of the summer about their user engagement system, so I guess we’ll see what these Facebook changes have to say about what their “jam” really is.
(via The Next Web)