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09 August 2016

Facebook To Change Clickbait Algorithm

Facebook has announced that it is set to change its algorithm to filter out what it considers to be “clickbait” articles. These articles are often articles with headlines that “withhold or distort information” and as a result of these changes, they will now be seen less often by users.

I think we can all agree that it is highly annoying scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed to be greeted by a headline such as, “After Binge Watching Stranger Things You’ll Never Guess What Happened To This Potato” or “You’ll Never Guess What Happens When You Rub Mushrooms On Your Phone. I Can’t Believe The Results!”

clickbait-594373451-1024x767.jpgImage Source: Wired

These types of headlines were popularised by sites such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy and the technique has been adopted by thousands of websites as a way of preying on the public’s curiosity and getting them to click through to their website. Let’s face it, we know nothing is going to happen when we rub a mushroom on a phone but many of us have been stung by that all too familiar irresistible urge to click, just to be sure.

“We want publishers to post content that people care about, and we think people care about headlines that are much more straightforward,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Vice President for Product Management for the news feed, said in an interview.

Facebook has had to manually classify thousands of clickbait headlines in order to train the new algorithm to recognise clickbait articles. This is done by using a method of scoring each headline with a number rather than simply giving each one a ‘no’ or ‘yes’. The algorithm will look for phrases, which are often associated with clickbait headlines in a very similar way to how an email spam filter would work.

Toy-Story-clickbait-468x257.pngImage Source: Mumbrella

“If you post 50 times a day and post one piece a clickbait, this shouldn’t affect you. If you’re a spammer and post clickbait all day, this should affect you a lot,”…“if they stop posting clickbait, their referral traffic will bounce back,” states Mosseri.

This method of punishing pages will ultimately make page owners rethink their content strategy as posting clickbait will downgrade them in newsfeeds and lower the click- through traffic.  

This is a great step forward for Facebook as it means that by amending newsfeed values, they are in turn adding more authenticity to the user experience. 

What do you think? Are you a clickbait addict? Do you think this will improve your Facebook experience over all? Let us know by Tweeting - @bcsagency

Want to know what other changes Facebook have been busy making lately? Check out what updates they have recently made to Facebook Live.