Facebook Will Start Punishing Publishers Who Use Clickbait Titles

If you got here from our Facebook page, we’ve already learned a lesson.

Facebook said it will start cracking down on publications who use clickbait titles to lure readers into their articles.

The company recently published a blog post announcing a crackdown on “headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer.” Such articles will be ranked lower on users’ news feeds.

If it means we’ll see news about things that actually matter before ‘KIM KARDASHIAN ADDED RAY JAY ON SNAPCHAT… YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE EMOJI SHE SENT HIM’, then we’re all for it.

One way Facebook identifies clickbait articles is by measuring how quickly people return to their News Feed after clicking on them. There’s also an algorithm in place that can identify clearly written headlines versus ones that are purposely ambiguous to force readers into clicking and find the crucial information.

There are two key components of a clickbait headline:

1. if the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is
2. if the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader.

The solution, of course, is going old school and including the 5 Ws in headlines – a small victory for journalism in the clickbait era.