Facebook’s Latest News Feed Update Reduces Clickbait

Facebook has again made changes to its ever-evolving News Feed algorithm, this time looking to reducing the amount of clickbait that shows up.

“One of our News Feed values is to have authentic communication on our platform,” says Alex Peysakhovich, Research Scientist for Facebook, and Kristin Hendrix, User Experience Researcher. “We work to understand what kinds of stories people find misleading and spammy to help make sure people see those less.”

We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. 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.”

Facebook is updating News Feed by using a system that identifies phrases that are commonly used in clickbait headlines.

“First, we categorized tens of thousands of headlines as clickbait by considering two key points: (1) if the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is; and (2) if the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader,” says Peysakhovich. “From there, we built a system that looks at the set of clickbait headlines to determine what phrases are commonly used in clickbait headlines that are not used in other headlines. This is similar to how many email spam filters work.”

Facebook believes that most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of this change. However, says Peysakhovich, “websites and Pages who rely on clickbait-style headlines should expect their distribution to decrease.”