Get ready to see a lot less “clickbait” on Facebook in the near future. The social network is cracking down on this new form of spam, thanks to a new update, USA Today is reporting.
If you’re not really clear on what clickbait is, here’s a brief explanation. You know how your news feed on Facebook will include stuff you care about — your friends’ status updates; pictures of your friends’ kids; The Inquisitr articles that your friends have shared; etc. It also includes a lot of stuff you don’t care about, and sometimes, whoever is posting that information will do it in a way that tries to trick you into clicking. Usually, clickbait looks like this:
In other words, someone is trying to get you to take the “bait,” so to speak, to click on that content. Or, as USA Today puts it:
“[Links] with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.”
Here’s an example: If you saw “A 12-Year-Old Boy Lost His Fingertips on ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean,’ Too” you would have all of the information you needed to make a decision about whether or not to read that article, particularly if you had an interest in theme park attractions, or children getting maimed, or children getting maimed on theme park attractions. But if the title said “You Won’t *Believe* What Happened On ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean,” that would be clickbait.
Facebook plans to employ two methods to crack down on clickbait. First, they will consider how much time you spend away from Facebook after clicking. If you were to read all 459 words of the Inquisitr article linked above — to say nothing of the insightful comments — that would take you 5 to 10 minutes or more. But if you clicked on the article and then immediately went back to Facebook, that would be a sign that it was clickbait. Second, Facebook will be looking at the ratio of “Likes” and “Shares” to “Comments.” So if someone posted the article linked above on your Facebook newsfeed, but it generated nothing in the way of likes, shares, or comments, Facebook will likely deem it clickbait.
According to CNN, critics of clickbait say it’s cheap and unsatisfying to users. It can also clog up a user’s news feed.
Are you pleased that Facebook is cracking down on clickbait? Let us know what you think in the Comments.