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Facebook Wants To Kill All Clickbait Headlines


If you’re in the business of writing misleading headlines in order to get clicks on crappy content, your days in Facebook’s news feed are numbered.

Facebook announced an update to their ranking algorithm that will reduce the number of clickbait stories people see in their news feeds.

A team reviewed tens of thousands of articles and thousands of headlines to come to this definition. Then they built a system that is able to filter out clickbait by looking for common phrases. Facebook said it works similarly to an email spam filter.

What Is Clickbait?

What is a clickbait headline, according to Facebook? Clickbait headlines:

  • Withhold information. These types of headlines force you to click if you want to know what it’s about. Facebook used this example: “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…”
  • Exaggerate to create misleading expectations. Facebook used the example “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” because apples are only bad for you if you eat too many every day.

Says Facebook:

We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer. For example: “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!”; “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe”; or “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”

This Facebook Clickbait Update Will Change Your Life Forever

If you rely solely on clickbait headlines to entice clicks, you’ve been warned. And you won’t believe what happens next…

Your news feed visibility will decrease after this change rolls out sometime in “the coming weeks.” Facebook’s advice: stop writing clickbait headlines that mislead and exaggerate. In other words, write compelling headlines.

Facebook doesn’t expect this change to impact most publishers who rely on more straightforward headlines.

The social network has cracked down on clickbait before, most recently in 2014. That update aimed to weed out clickbait by measuring how long people stayed on a site before clicking back to Facebook, as well as comparing the click-through rate to the engagement rate.

Just over a month ago, Facebook rolled out a news feed change that prioritized updates from friends and family over posts by brands and publishers.

Image Credit: Depositphotos

Category News Facebook
Danny Goodwin Former Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal

Danny Goodwin is the former Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal. He formerly was managing editor of Momentology and editor ...

Facebook Wants To Kill All Clickbait Headlines

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