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Facebook Now Cracking Down On Clickbait Posts

In an attempt to minimize spam on users' news feeds , Facebook is working on a new tweak to crack down on 'clickbait' posts ,...


Facebook cracks down on clickbait


In an attempt to minimize spam on users' news feeds, Facebook is working on a new tweak to crack down on 'clickbait' posts, i.e. posts that attract user-attention (and clicks) explicitly. Headlines such as "You will never believe what happened next" qualify as such, and will come under scrutiny. Not only are such posts irrelevant, a majority of them also link to spam websites with potentially malicious intent.


By definition, a 'clickbait headline' is any "headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see," and it can “drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.”


How does it work?



So how will Facebook be able to distinguish between deceptive, clickbait headlines and those that are effective? Facebook won't make a judgement call on that one. Instead, it will be relying on user behavior to suggest they got any value out of the story or now.





To do that, Facebook is employing a 'time spent on page' metric. Not only that, it will also look at the ratio of people clicking on a link versus discussing and sharing it. According to Facebook;


If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn't find something that they wanted


Further on;


Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends," the Facebook team wrote. "If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn't click through to something that was valuable to them. 


Potential hazards



So far with this change, you probably won't see any noticeable change in your news feed. This is more of a penalty that we see so often in search engines. Too many people spending too little a time on an external page would incur a negative penalty on a particular story.





The change could have a major impact on digital media companies. Facebook has become one of the most influential publishing platforms, driving major traffic to sites that have a strong following on the site and are able to get users to share posts with friends.





Now this obviously is alarming news for certain types of businesses. People tend to spend a lot more time reading articles than they do looking at images. So comic artists, for example, might see some problem with people spending less time on their comics than on other people's articles.





This could also mean that if a number of people open a link, but should suddenly decide to navigate back to Facebook whether out of spite or mere coincidence, it could still lead to a penalty.





The real effects of this new change have not as yet been verified. Let's hope Facebook can come up with a better and more complex algorithm than it seems. Cheers :)

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Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups: Facebook Now Cracking Down On Clickbait Posts
Facebook Now Cracking Down On Clickbait Posts
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