Facebook is taking steps to scrub the feed of ‘click-bait’ articles

facebook-logo-blue
In an attempt to improve the quality of content that’s being displayed within the main Facebook feed, the social network announced changes to the algorithm that will reduce the number of articles posted with “click-bait” headlines. If you are unfamiliar with the term “click-bait,” it refers to a sentence or two that’s designed to get the reader to click on the link without offering significant details about the content within the article. Mentioned on the Facebook Newsroom, these types of leading statements often misrepresent the content in the article and are marked as spam when the user returns to Facebook.

Click-bait articles have long taken advantage of Facebook’s news feed algorithm since the number of clicks on a article is one of the metrics that determines the article placement within the feed as well as increasing the number of people that will see the article. To combat click-bait, Facebook is going to track the length of time that the user spends away from Facebook reading the article. For instance, if a user clicks on an article and only spends a few seconds before returning to Facebook, that article will be devalued in the feed.

Beyond the time measurement, Facebook will also add up the number of social actions that occur on the article and compare that against the number of clicks the article receives. For example, if an article receives thousands of clicks, but very few likes or comments on the Facebook post, that factor will reduce the prominence of the article in the feed.

click-bait-correct-incorrect

These changes are based off surveys that Facebook  distributed among a random sampling of users. One statistic indicated that users prefer headlines that accurately describe the content in the article approximately 80 percent of the time over click-bait style articles.

Beyond click-bait targeting to improve the quality of the feed, Facebook stated that specific types of posts will be devalued with the algorithm changes. Specifically, pages and users that post in the link format will be ranked higher than photo posts that have a URL included in the description. Posts created in the link style include additional information about the article in the description as well as the site URL and possibly the author of the content. Interestingly, this style of post is also more effective within the mobile feed as the entire photo attached to the post is click-able to the site.

In addition to photos posted with a URL in the description, this update will also devalue status updates that include a URL. According to Facebook, these updates will roll out slowly over the next few months. Any sites that consistently publish click-bait articles will see an overall reduction in referral traffic from the social network.

Of course, this isn’t the first change that Facebook has made this year in regards to low quality content. Announced during April 2014, Facebook took steps to reduce the number of “like-bait” posts that ask Facebook users for artificial inflation of likes, shares and comments. This shift was designed to encourage more original content being posted in the feed rather than silly pictures or Internet memes.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Home Theater

It took Tom Cruise to raise awareness of this troublesome TV setting

Tom Cruise, in an unexpected PSA tweet, asks you to turn off motion interpolation on your TV, but stops short of how to do it. Here's more on the topic, along with links to a guide on how to rid your TV of the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Social Media

Snapchat facial recognition could soon power a new portrait mode, code suggests

Digging into Snapchat's code suggests a handful of upcoming camera features, including a portrait mode. The feature appears to use facial recognition A.I. to blur the background. The code also suggests an updated camera interface.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

Walkie-talkie voice messaging finally comes to Instagram

In its latest grab from messaging apps, Instagram now lets you send walkie-talkie style voice messages. Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and iMessage have offered the feature for some time.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.