You’ll Never Believe How Facebook Is Changing Its News Feed Algorithm To Reduce Clickbait… Again

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Ah, Facebook’s News Feed. It changes frequently in order keep you better updated on your friends’ lives, the news of the world, and other events. But one thing you’re likely see a bit less of soon: those cleverly written headlines just begging to be clicked. The social network announced Thursday that it would revamp its News Feed algorithm to reduce the number of clickbait headlines you see. 

The tweak is intended to show users the content most relevant to them, data scientist Alex Peysakhovich and user experience researcher Kristin Hendrix wrote in a blog post about the changes that are expected to hit News Feeds in coming weeks.

“One of our News Feed values is to have authentic communication on our platform,” blog states. “People have told us they like seeing authentic stories the most. 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.”

To ensure people are seeing more genuine posts, and not headlines such as “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe,” the network has created a system that identifies phrases that are commonly used in clickbait headlines.

To do this, a team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using these criteria, validating each other’s work to identify a large set of clickbait headlines.

Under the system, which is based on how emails filter spam messages, the network will categorize headlines as clickbait by considering two points: does the headline withhold information required to understand what the context of the article is, and does the headline exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations?

“Our system identifies posts that are clickbait and which web domains and Pages these posts come from,” the blog states. “Links posted from or shared from Pages or domains that consistently post clickbait headlines will appear lower in News Feed.”

The system will continue to evolve over time, the network says, noting that if a Page stops posting clickbait headlines, their posts will stop being impacted by this change.

This, of course, isn’t the first time Facebook has tweaked its algorithm to reduce the number of clickbait articles that appear in the News Feed.

In August 2014, the social network announced that it would stop rewarding sites that practice the dark art of clickbait by keeping track of how long it takes you to return to Facebook after you check out a link.

[via VentureBeat]