Facebook has identified click-baiting as a problem, and you’ll never guess what happened next.
Those tantalising snippets, full of promise and light on delivery, which have proliferated on social media as companies fight to quantify their domination in “clicks”, are the target of Facebook’s latest changes to its users’ experience.
The social media giant, which has 1.32 billion monthly active users, has announced two changes to users’ News Feed: the reduction of click-baiting headlines, and a prioritising of the way links are shared in posts.
Facebook says the changes are prompted by user feedback, citing a survey where 80 per cent of people “preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through”.
Whether a headline is classified as click bait will be determined by how quickly a user returns to the Facebook site after clicking on a link in their feed, the company says.
The second update, which is also aimed at reducing nuisance posts, will see links that are included in users’ posts in “link format” prioritised over those which are shared in captions of status updates. By displaying additional information, such as the beginning of the article, Facebook says the link format “makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through”.
Facebook has justified the changes on the basis they will help users discover posts and links that are “interesting and relevant”. The move follows Twitter’s decision last week to allow for the inclusion of tweets from accounts users don’t follow, based on what the site determines individual users will find “relevant and interesting”.
While the changes are unlikely to impress viral content sites which rely on click bait as a marketing tool, many individual Facebook users are welcoming the announcement.