We’ve all fallen victim to Facebook ‘click-baiting’ articles. The usual suspect is the phrase “and you’ll never believe what happened next…” that crops up time and time again in headlines. We’ve started calling it the “Buzzfeed effect”.
These articles encourage Facebook users to click through with very little information about the content given away. The article itself rarely lives up to the potential of an interesting read, as promised by the misleading headline, leaving users a tad underwhelmed.
Popular websites, Upworthy and Buzzfeed have been the most accused of click-baiting. New Facebook regulations could put a stop to sites like these playing on our general curiosity. After conducting a study that confirmed 80% of Facebook users prefer headlines that help them decide if the article is worth reading, Facebook has finally pleaded to make a change.
The new feature will lower the ranking of click-baiting articles that appear in newsfeeds. The system works through an algorithm and by measuring how long users spend reading stories once they’ve clicked them. Facebook will also take into account post likes, comments and shares in order to determine an articles value.
Website tabs that are closed quite soon after the initial click on Facebook will be deemed as click-baiting and will start to appear less in your newsfeed. Great news for users that are sick of irrelevant spam clogging up their feeds, however this does bring up the issue of loopholes.
Sites that regularly use these ambiguous techniques will soon receive a lot less traffic and will more than likely find gaps in the new Facebook regulations to keep their articles on top. Some companies have also criticised the change claiming that Facebook will financially gain from business Pages that now pay for advertising in order to stay relevant on newsfeeds.
Regardless of the motivations behind the change, the new algorithm and metric system is definitely a step in the right direction and very positive news for Facebook users.
Written by Amanda Johansson
Junior PR Account Executive