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Facebook changes News Feed algorithm to clamp down clickbait headlines

It is detecting specific words, styles in titles which intentionally leave out crucial information, forcing people to click to find answer


IANS  |  New York 

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg
A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Reuters

In a bid to reduce clickbait content and to direct user attention towards higher quality content, has tweaked its News Feed algorithm, a media report said.

Clickbait describes web content that aims to exploit the curiosity gap, providing just enough information to make the reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.

Articles with transparent, informative headlines will now show up higher on your feed, while potential clickbait will be listed lower.

Now is filtering out clickbait much like Gmail hides spam. It is detecting specific words, structures, and styles in titles which "intentionally leave out crucial information, forcing people to click to find the answer", The Next Web reported.

provided samples of titles you will be seeing a lot less of -- "when she looked under her couch cushions and saw this? I was shocked!", "the dog barked at the deliveryman and his reaction was priceless", "apples are actually bad for you".

Facebook is not filtering out individual clickbait posts, but rather ranking complete pages and domains based on their overall tendency towards opaque headlines.

That means a page or website can probably get away with sending out an article with a clickbait headline every once in a while - probably for the better, since algorithms make mistakes, but those that rely on clickbait as their general source of traffic could be severely impacted, the report noted.

Facebook is the world's largest social media platform, effectively making it the singular company with the most control over what content people read and has the power to stop clickbait from working, while making informative headlines more relevant, the report added.

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First Published: Fri, August 05 2016. 16:08 IST