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August 4, 2016

Facebook is ramping up its fight against clickbait

by John_A

Two years ago, Facebook began its fight against clickbait in its news feed. It down ranked articles based on how quickly you gave up on them after you clicked through, and also prioritized pieces with a preview link so you can see what the story is about. However, the problem is still pretty rampant, so Facebook is scaling up its efforts. Now, the company is implementing a system that actually examines the words used in these headlines, automatically detecting and demoting the ones that it deems as clickbait.

What qualifies as clickbait? Well, Facebook is looking specifically for headlines that appear to either withhold information or are misleading. So examples could be “This one weird trick will help you find an Articuno in Pokemon Go” or “Driving is the worst thing you can do.” Facebook’s system identifies these phrases much in the same way as email spam filters. Once it figures them out, those stories or Pages will automatically appear lower in your News Feed. The system has just started to roll out and Facebook says it’ll improve and tweak the algorithm over time.

“We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles,” said Facebook in a blog post. “With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds.”

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