August 4, 2016 Last Updated 2:15 pm

Facebook says it will go after clickbait inside the News Feed

Social network says its users want to cut down on the number of stories inside the News Feed that they immediately back out of, but the company was the one to invite in publishers in the first place, and can easily solve the problem by curating its list of partners

The social network Facebook wants publishers to use the network to distribute their content, but they apparently don’t like what they are seeing and now will be making changes in its system to try and limit the amount of clickbait headlines seen by users.

Writing in the Facebook Newsroom, Alex Peysakhovich, Research Scientist and Kristin Hendrix, User Experience Researcher, explained what users are seeing too often, and what they are doing about it.

“We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer. For example: When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!; He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe; or The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.

Welcome to the world of digital publishing Facebook.

The fact of the matter is that many publishers are using content delivery services like Taboola which offer up clickbait headlines to other publisher sites. The site with the ad gets a penny or two for delivering up the traffic through the service, with the clickbait publisher paying a few pennies for the traffic. It leads to some incremental dollars, I guess, but it junks up otherwise OK websites. (TNM does not use any of these services either to drive revenue or traffic.)

Well, these publishers who produce this junk content, with their clickbait headlines, have to find a way to drive traffic and so like to use Facebook or any other service that will let them.

While Facebook didn’t create the problem, they certain have made the problem worse. Guess it is good that they recognize it.

“To address clickbait headlines, we previously made an update to News Feed that reduces the distribution of posts that lead people to click and then quickly come back to News Feed. While this update helped, we’re still seeing Pages rely on clickbait headlines, and people are still telling us they would prefer to see clearly written headlines that help them decide how they want to spend their time and not waste time on what they click,” Facebook said.

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