Facebook is a place where information easily gets distorted. Exaggerated, out-of-context or even downright false stories abound on the social platform, but that may change soon. Facebook is rolling out a new “anti-clickbait” algorithm which may solve at least some of those issues.
“People have told us they like seeing authentic stories the most. That’s why we work hard to understand what type of stories and posts people consider genuine, so we can show more of them in News Feed,” a new announcement said.
Clickbait is a pejorative term used to describe attractive content which lacks value. So you might see a Facebook post with an intriguing title or something which just makes you want to read it – but when you open the article, there’s basically nothing there. At least, nothing of value.
“We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer. 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 manually assessed the “clickbaitiness” of tens of thousands of articles, scoring each one to see what is authentic and what is spammy to people. To make things even better, if you’re a page that often publishes clickbait, you’ll get a negative score for your entire page. The negative score applies both to the website and the Facebook page, so you can’t just make a new Facebook page for the same site.
Facebook hasn’t made the entire system public, but the gist is clear: you’ll likely see less bad science in your feed.
How this affects us
It doesn’t, really. We do our best to make science attractive while staying well inside the boundaries of accuracy. Sometimes we screw up because, alas, to err is human, but I’m happy to say that you, our readers, are quick to point out the mistakes – and we are quick to fix them.
So, – shameless pitch here – head on to our Facebook page and send us your feedback. We’d love to hear from you!