Facebook has announced a tweak of its newsfeed algorithm that will cut down on the amount of “click-bait” you see on your news feed. You might never see Upworthy ever again.
Apparently Facebook’s intention is to give users more information when deciding whether to click on something – rather than have slightly misdirected “Upworthy” style headlines. You know the sort: “You’ll never guess what happened next!”.
The changes being made sound pretty clever: Essentially, if a post is getting lots of clicks but not many likes or comments, Facebook will judge a link to be click-bait, and will filter it out more often. The other change is on Facebook Pages posting images with links in the description – these will be downgraded in favour of proper “link” objects.
Facebook claims that in a survey, 80% of users said they wanted less click-bait and more meaningful content, hence the changes.
What’s really interesting is the impact this could have on publishers: At the moment lots of internet content is written to deliberately be click-bait: It’s the reason why there are so many listicles in the world now, as lists are a more attractive thing to click than a big block of text. Could we soon see the likes of Buzzfeed switch to more BBC style headlines: “Cats promise reforms after several found sitting in boxes”?
By James O'Malley | August 26th, 2014