Facebook: Clickbait Has No Place in News Feeds

Facebook: Clickbait Has No Place in News Feeds
Image credit: JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock.com

Facebook wants you to know that it considers updates from friends and family to be the most important part of your News Feed, and it is doubling down on efforts to keep clickbait out.

An update rolling out this week will mean that you'll see "fewer clickbait stories," the company wrote in a blog post today. That's thanks to a new system that identifies common clickbait phrases. It looks for and suppresses links that it thinks either withholds information or creates misleading expectations about the linked story.


Facebook says it trained the system with a team of people who fed it thousands of headlines using those criteria.

The types of headlines that will be weeded out in the future include: "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."

The company is vague on what will replace them, other than explaining its users want "authentic" stories instead of clickbait headlines.

"One of our News Feed values is to have authentic communication on our platform," Facebook wrote. "People have told us they like seeing authentic stories the most. That's why we work hard to understand what type of stories and posts people consider genuine, so we can show more of them in News Feed."

The clickbait-removing system is part of a larger trend at Facebook to rely less on the number of likes, clicks, comments and shares that have traditionally determined the placement of stories in people's news feeds. The social media giant in December began testing new topic-based feeds for desktop and iOS app users, focused on content like style or food.

The ultimate goal with News Feed tweaks, Facebook says, is to return to the company's roots as a platform to connect with friends and family. It appears there's still room for commercial content and news stories, as long as they don't include clickbait.

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