Click-Bait Links Being Cleaned up by Facebook

Facebook has just announced their plans to clean out our news feeds of click-bait articles and headlines – alongside stories that contain links shared in the captions of photos or within status updates. This follows Facebook’s clean up of like-bait, repeated content and spam links from 4 months ago.

Click-bait is a link attached to a headline which will peak your interest without informing you much about the subject. For example, they’re often using phrases such as “click here to find out!” or “you’ll never guess what happens next!” and things of the like.

Facebook’s official release let on a little bit of insight into why this change is taking place:

“Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. However, when 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.” 

Click-bait articles are becoming quite popular in our news feeds – but often for the wrong reasons. This release shows that the Facebook ‘population’ would prefer articles from reputable companies which actually tell you what to expect in the written content.

Currently, Facebook’s news feed takes into account the length of stay on certain content and the click-through rate of these said articles or websites alongside the interaction data – meaning likes, comments and shares. Using this data, they claim that articles which are clicked on, then with an extended time spent viewing this content in turn means it was worth looking at. This does not take into account the issue of you opening multiple tabs at once, or opening something and taking a break from your computer – so we’re eager to see how this is dealt with.

Facebook is also restricting stories with links in the status or in the text caption accompanying a photo. This may become a concern for many legitimate companies trying to push their products with a where to buy link, or possibly event charity organisations attempting to link to donation portals. The release also stated their intentions for this maneuver:

“We’ve found that people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions. The link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through. This format also makes it easier for someone to click through on mobile devices, which have a smaller screen.”

Cover image courtesy of The Sunday Mail

Inset image courtesy of Facebook Newsroom