Facebook announced on Thursday that its News Feed will show fewer ‘clickbait’ headlines over the next few weeks, as it seeks to establish itself as the prime web destination for news and social updates.
It’s a potentially huge move, and one that makes journalism better for everyone involved.
The company receives thousands of complaints a day about clickbait – headlines that intentionally withhold information or mislead users to get people to click on them. In other words, the headlines we all cringe at – but can’t help clicking anyway.
In an effort to eliminate clickbait from the site, Facebook created an algorithm that identifies and classifies such headlines.
It can then determine which pages or web domains post large amounts of clickbait and rank them lower in News Feed.
Articles with transparent, informative headlines will now show up higher on your feed, while potential clickbait will be listed lower.
It’s worth noting that Facebook isn’t filtering out individual clickbait posts, but rather ranking complete Pages and domains based on their overall tendency towards opaque headlines.
Facebook routinely updates its algorithm for News Feed, the place most people see postings on the site, to show users what they are most interested in and encourage them to spend even more time on the site.
The 1.7 billion-person site has worked to better communicate how it shows news and posts to users in recent months, after a May news report alleged liberal political bias in a Facebook feature called Trending Topics.
The system looks for commonly used phrases in clickbait headlines, similar to how filters for email spam work, Facebook said in a blog post.
It categorized tens of thousands of headlines as clickbait by looking for headlines that intentionally withheld information and those that exaggerated the content of an article.