Facebook tweaks News Feed algorithm to prevent clickbait headlines

5 Aug, 2016

facebookSocial networking giant Facebook Inc. has announced an update to its News Feed to reduce clickbait headlines and ensure users get the most relevant stories.

This is not the first time the company is acting against clickbait headlines. In August 2014, the company had announced two updates to its News Feed to fight clickbait headlines.

The term click-baiting refers to when a publisher posts a headline whose primary purpose it to attract user attention and draw traffic to its web page.

Facebook said in a blog post that clickbait headlines intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing them to click to find out the answer. The company said the previous updates were helpful but pages which rely on clickbait headlines still exist.

It gave examples of headlines such as "When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!" and "He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe."

Facebook said it has built a system that looks at the set of clickbait headlines to determine what phrases are commonly used in such headlines that are not used in other headlines.

"Links posted from or shared from Pages or domains that consistently post clickbait headlines will appear lower in News Feed. News Feed will continue to learn over time — if a Page stops posting clickbait headlines, their posts will stop being impacted by this change," it said.

The company said most Pages won't see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this change. "However, websites and Pages who rely on clickbait-style headlines should expect their distribution to decrease," it said.

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