Facebook battles to banish News Feed clickbait

Tired of misleading headlines? Facebook's new clickbait filter aims to clear them up.

Another day, another change to Facebook’s News Feed.

The social network’s crusade against clickbait, the highly technical term for garbage articles with misleading headlines, continues apace with an algorithmic tweak that downgrades articles with headlines like, “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”

That means you’ll see fewer stories like that in your News Feed.

But hasn’t Facebok promised to banish clickbait before? Yes. In a 2014 News Feed update, Facebook used two signals to tell if a link was clickbait: how much time you spent on the story outside of Facebook, and whether you like or share the story.

Its algorithm is getting more sophisticated. The network will now identify clickbait by examining headlines and categorizing them similar to a spam filter. Facebook used actual humans to review headlines and come up with commonly used phrases across classic types of clickbait stories.

Facebook will also look at pages that consistently post those types of stories and will automatically downgrade their ranking in your News Feed. That will affect traffic to those sites, which may inspire them to stop clogging your feed with misleading news.

“We want publishers to post content that people care about, and we think people care about headlines that are much more straightforward,” Facebook product VP Adam Mosseri told the New York Times.

Why this matters: Facebook’s News Feed is a constantly evolving beast. The average Facebook user just wants to see updates from their friends, family, and the celebrities or business they follow. Over the years, publishers have invented new, creative, and often annoying ways to game Facebook’s massive distribution potential, and while Facebook hasn’t said which media companies are guiltier than others of this shameful behavior, you can bet that they’ll change their ways—or just find new, even more irritating ones.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Caitlin McGarry

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?