Every time you open your Facebook account, you are likely bombarded with clickbait articles. For example, this article could have been titled “Facebook is implementing a shocking change. You won’t believe what happens next!” The goal is to provide just enough juicy information to keep the reader wanting more. One thing is for sure, these exaggerated headlines are annoying.
Thankfully Facebook has taken notice. The company will soon be implementing a new anti-clickbait algorithm. Each story in a user’s News Feed is given a score based on how clickbait-like it sounds. The algorithm acts like a spam filter, sifting through the phrases used and looks for ones similar to those frequently used in clickbait headlines.
Adam Mosseri, VP of Product Management on News Feed, explains that the frequency of clickbait posts also affects the visibility of the posts or referral links of the offenders. The algorithm looks at the domain level aside from the Facebook page level so offenders will not be able to create a page and change URLs and continue spamming again.
Facebook is open to sharing how to fight clickbait articles using their algorithm with other companies. However, they refuse to publish it publicly because the creators of those pesky clickbait articles may be able to reverse engineer it and figure out a way around the algorithm.
“The algorithm will track the amount of time people spend on an article after they click the link. If they immediately return to Facebook — suggesting that the content of the article wasn’t as compelling as its title promised — then Facebook will devalue that post in the search rankings. The company will also track user engagement with the post — how many people like or comment on a link in the news feed.”
This new anti-clickbait effort is definitely more robust. If it works, this may boost the referral traffic for legitimate publishers, leaving us with the quality content we want to see.