People tell us that they do not like stories that are misleading, sensational or spamming. This includes clickbait headlines that are designed to attract attention and attract visitors by clicking the link. In an effort to support an informed community, we’re always working to find out which stories the click headlines might have to show them less often.
Last year, we updated News Feed to reduce stories from sources consistently published by clickait headlines that hold back and exaggerate information. Today, we are making three updates based on this work so people can see even fewer clickbait stories and more stories in their channels that they consider authentic.
How we improve our efforts
Subtitles that retain information intentionally omit key details or introduce people, making them click to find out the answer. For example, “When she looked beneath her cushion pillows and saw …” Headlines that exaggerate the details of the story with the sensational tongue tend to make the story a bigger deal than it really is. For example, “WOW! Ginger tea is the secret of eternal youth, you have to see it!”
We have resolved the same way we previously worked to reduce clickbait: We categorized hundreds of thousands of subtitles as clickbait or non-clickbait by considering whether the title overstates the details of the story and separately if the title holds the information. The Facebook Team has reviewed thousands of subtitles using these criteria and has confirmed their work to identify large sets of click headings.
From here, we determine which phrases are commonly used in the Clickbait headline that are not used in other headings. This is similar to how many spam filters work.
Contributions with clickbait headings appear in the message feed below. We will continue to learn time and we hope to continue expanding this work to reduce clickbits in even more languages.
Publishers who rely on Clickbank’s headlines should expect their distribution to decline. Sites should avoid subtitles that retain the information needed to understand the content of the article and subtitles that enlarge the article and create misleading expectations. If the page stops publishing clickable and sensational subtitles, their posts will no longer be affected by this change.
As always, sites should refer to our publishing best practices. We will learn from these changes and we will continue to work on reducing clickbait, so News Feed is a place for authentic communication.