Facebook Steps Up Fight Against Clickbait

Stop ClickbaitRight now, your Facebook news feed is likely full of content with misleading or downright false headlines designed to get you to click them. Often these clickbait links only lead to trashy tabloid-like stories, but they can also be used to drive traffic to malicious, malware-spreading sites. Thankfully, Facebook is altering its news feed formula starting this week to help fight back against these fishy links.

Facebook said it identified two main culprits when it comes to these spammy stories on the site: “curiosity gap” headlines that say things like, “you won’t believe what happened,” and downright misleading headlines.

“We categorized tens of thousands of headlines as clickbait by considering two key points,” Facebook said in its blog post announcing the algorithm change. “(1) if the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is; and (2) if the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader.”

Facebook users have consistently noted in surveys from the site that they are not happy with the kind of content they see in their feeds, so it’s no surprise Facebook made moves to address the problem. But it’s still reassuring to know that the world’s largest social media site is actually listening to its enormous, global user base.