Ok, you might…
Facebook has announced a major change to its News Feed in order to stop those really annoying posts like below – you’ll never believe what happened next!
You’ve no doubt come across a whole lot of these everyday and they’ve been around for a long time, but that could be about to change. Facebook has spent a huge amount of development time trying to find an effective way to fight clickbait. It annoys users and they think it can be manipulative and misleading and personally i think they’re right.
Facebooks plan to fight clickbait
So after years of studying thousands of headlines by hand (not all jobs at Facebook are that great after all) Facebook believe they have now come up with a technology that can scan for the signs of clickbait headlines on the news feed and actively supress them. Clickbait phrases such as “you’ll never believe what happened next” and “his response was priceless” should now be flagged and appear lower down the list or not at all.
This isnt just a per post thing either, if you get regularly flagged as a ‘click-baiter’ the system will proactively lower the reach for all of your posts.
So what are Facebook actually looking for as signs of click bait?
There appears to be 2 main things that are being looked at.
Firstly withholding important information.
Im sure you’ve come across this type of headline many times. Things like
- He called her the wrong name at their wedding – And her reaction was priceless
- 20 seconds in this video my heart broke
- This mans actions will restore your faith in humanity.
These kind of headlines became extremely popular, mainly because they actually work. It may annoy us but if we are mildly interested in the headline we are hardwired to learn the answer.
The next thing that is being targeted is purposely misleading users
Again im sure you’ve seen something along the lines of
- Is your tap water slowly killing you?
- Why chocolate is better for you than vegetables
- Can dolphins read your mind?
Facebook have realised that a lot of publishers use misdirection and shock tactics for getting a users attention so now they are looking at how factual headlines appear to be. Now this system is fully automatic to it will be interesting to see how well this works in practice and if it affects any legitimate posts.
So have you been affected by the new Facebook changes?