Facebook has announced an important update to its News Feed function with confirmation that it will actively work to reduce the number of clickbait-style headlines appearing in its users’ feeds.
As part of its pledge to rid News Feed of clickbait, the social media platform has developed a system to categorize thousands of article headlines. It focuses on two important criteria. In short, if the headline withholds the information necessary to understand the article’s content, and if the headline exaggerates the content of the article to create unrealistic expectations for the reader, it will now be classed as clickbait.
The new approach is similar to a spam filter on a large scale – posts falling foul of the basic requirements will now be removed from News Feed. This strategy is part of a number of changes Facebook has rolled out on News Feed as part of move towards higher quality content on the social network (it recently said it would prioritize updates from friends and family for the same reason).
Facebook will also bear social shares and likes in mind when making the decision about where a piece should appear on the News Feed. Some clickbait – for instance, Buzzfeed or Upworthy-style content – is incredibly popular on the social network, and certain articles are shared by hundreds of thousands of people, despite the titles. Articles with a high CTR but low engagement are a big red flag and could also be penalized under the new system.
Google’s & Low Quality Content
Google has long since clamped down on low-quality content – perhaps this is why so many clickbait creators have turned to social media to boost their clicks. Google judges quality based on a number of criteria. If pages have little to no original content, hidden redirects, hidden links or poor content they are likely to be deemed low-quality and will be treated as such when it comes to determining their search engine ranking.
Facebook’s crackdown on clickbait does signal a move towards better-quality content across the board, with the social network now encouraging publishers to create original, well-researched and informative content if they want to achieve a prominent position on the News Feed. If other social networks – like Twitter, for example – were to follow suit, clickbait could be stamped out across the web once and for all. To read further on this subject see complete article in Word Tracker.