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Facebook Cleans Up News Feed By Reducing Click-Bait Headlines

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the 20-shocking-reasons-this-won't-work dept.

Facebook 61

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook today announced further plans to clean up the News Feed by reducing stories with click-bait headlines as well as stories that have links shared in the captions of photos or within status updates. The move comes just four months after the social network reduced Like-baiting posts, repeated content, and spammy links."

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10 secrets Facebook doesn't want you to know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751589)

Title speaks for itself ;-)

Re:10 secrets Facebook doesn't want you to know (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#47752233)

Oh, it gets even better - wait until politispam pages all over the site go apeshit and claim outright censorship...

"Use our API for links" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47752455)

Did you notice the "use our API for links" bit at the end? Let's be honest here clickbait is far more nuanced than any algorithm could predict. FB is likely doing this for 2 reasons, neither of which actually give users better content (and would you really want FB to decide that for you anyways?)

1) They want to appear to be on the user's side

2) They want to force everyone to use their API link format - so they can better track links and clicks.

I'm sure this will remove the lowest of the low-hanging-fruit, and that's good. But let's be clear about FB's motivation here.

Re:"Use our API for links" (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#47753959)

You missed "censor content they don't like" and "ship that same content to the appropriate government spooks".

Facebook is trying to appear as relevant as they were 5 years ago. Every TV "News" agency is still saying "like us" and given the games we know they are playing it's getting more and more contrived.

You won't beleive what this Facebook PR said ! (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 5 months ago | (#47752535)

At first I was laughing, but the end of this video just blew my mind !

Now cue-in hordes of facebook users who will inevitably start to complain that facebook changed again their interface, and now it sucks, and that's it, they are going to deleter their account. Definitely. I swear it.
Like at each of the other 5 big changes over the last year.

Re:10 secrets Facebook doesn't want you to know (3, Interesting)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 5 months ago | (#47752563)

I just hope they use image recognition to eliminate my latest pet hate: the click-bait pages that use a screen grab of a youtube video, play button and all, as their thumbnail, trying to convince you it's just a shared video rather than a link.

Re:10 secrets Facebook doesn't want you to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47753915)


No need to be tricked like that.

Re:10 secrets Facebook doesn't want you to know (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 5 months ago | (#47755161)

I'm not tricked by it - Facebook shows the domain name underneath it, and if it's not Youtube, it's immediately obvious to me. just hate it because it's scummy.

Facebook just changed the game (5, Funny)

phorm (591458) | about 5 months ago | (#47751599)

I can see the headline now:
Facebook decides to change policy and you wouldn't believe what happened next!

Re:Facebook just changed the game (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751641)

At 00:30 I couldn't stop laughing. At 02:20 I couldn't stop crying.

Re:Facebook just changed the game (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751651)

You found your parents' porn video, I see.

Re:Facebook just changed the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751721)

Haha, The Telegraph actually made that joke in their article:


Re:Facebook just changed the game (4, Funny)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#47751897)

Cut the spam in your newsfeed with this one simple trick! Facebook hates this!

Re:Facebook just changed the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47758363)

Is that the "log out" trick?

Re:Facebook just changed the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47752319)


Re:Facebook just changed the game (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 5 months ago | (#47753131)

Complete with a screenshot of a computer and a randomly-placed red circle.

Spammers hate him! (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 5 months ago | (#47751611)

Fuck Buzzfeed with a rusty buzzsaw.

Will this let Facebook take over the world? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#47751635)

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to submit a request here on Slashdot on information about an App that does this. (Got only one comment). While I don't particularly like Facebook, this is great news.

Answer: The answer to all questions posted in a headline, is of course "NO!"

Re:Will this let Facebook take over the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47752323)

Thats why , as a spamvertizer, I always create a negative headline just to trick up you smart types:

Is the world not coming to an end?
Will this one standard procedure that everyone already does, not improve your health?

I'm no english major but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751657)

this being making the front page of slashdot... is that irony?

Re:I'm no english major but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751789)

No you certainly are not an english major..

"facebook", if your not paying for the ad... (2)

Kevin by the Beach (3600539) | about 5 months ago | (#47751739)

If you don't already know, the real value of facebook is the content that people post and the data mining that takes place behind the scenes. These social networks are a huge "SELL TO ME" sign that glows brighter with every like, repost, and share. I'm not surprised that the $$$ machine want's to control the content, they don't need us urinating in the same well we drink from.

Cut out the "you're the product!!1@!@!" crap. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751957)

Look, the "You're not the customer. You're the product!" saying was old in 2007. Fuck, it was old even in 1997, back when there were ISPs that offered free dialup Internet access in exchange for showing the customer some ads.

I don't know why people like you feel the need to point out this idiotically obvious fact whenever the topics of Google or Facebook come up. It's especially stupid to point it out here at Slashdot, of all places. Everybody here is already well aware of the concept.

So why the fuck do you keep trying to point it out? Is it somehow "insightful" to your small mind, decades after everybody else learned of the concept?

Re:"facebook", if your not paying for the ad... (2)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 5 months ago | (#47752213)

I must be doing facebook all wrong. I don't ever recall seeing ads. If I could get my sister in law to stop posting "It's not the breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away" type crap twice a day it wouldn't be too bad.

Re:"facebook", if your not paying for the ad... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#47754015)

I run ad-block and noscript, I don't see any ads for any site unless I approve the content. Being a smart consumer is good for your health...

That said, I don't visit facebook. Even back when it was the fad to have an account I never saw it as a "news" site, I saw it as entertainment (time burner). Memes are cute, but not news. I used to be able to hold a conversation with friends, but the improperly named "time line" broke that ability because anything that gets a "like" gets to the top of the stack so people can re-order the conversation.

If you didn't give rights to them when you uploaded a photo, I'd consider using to share photos with family. Of course they fucked that up too, demonstrating their lack of concern in court on several occasions.

[/shrug] If people want to use it, I'm okay with that. I do think they should pop up key areas of their EULA on occasion so that you don't forget who owns photos you upload, and how they censor and change content as they see fit.

Re:"facebook", if your not paying for the ad... (2)

Skater (41976) | about 5 months ago | (#47755419)

It has only gotten worse. I'm planning to close my account soon. The final straw for me was a group that a friend runs is now invisible to several of us in the group - there's nothing on his end that would seem to be causing it, and I (and several others) didn't block it, but...at least three of us can't see the group (there are probably more, but you don't notice it's missing until you go look for it, and of course any post from the group doesn't show up on our walls). Even when he sends us a direct URL to the group page, it just takes us back to our own feed. Facebook is turning into Skynet. I just need to get a few family members to revert back to email for contacting me, clean up a few things, then I'm out.

Zuckerberg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751741)

Mark Suckerberg is a master baiter

Stop calling them clickbait (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 5 months ago | (#47751763)

After reading a shameful article praising clickbait [theguardian.com] I realize the term isn't negative enough. "Bait" can be good or bad. Instead, please call them "misleading headlines" or "incomplete headlines" or "editorializing headlines."

Re:Stop calling them clickbait (1)

Kevin by the Beach (3600539) | about 5 months ago | (#47751939)

...or Native Advertising

Re:Stop calling them clickbait (1)

Irish-DnB (161087) | about 5 months ago | (#47752025)

That's not a catchy enough title unfortunately

Re:Stop calling them clickbait (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 5 months ago | (#47752415)

It's not even really about the headlines, per se. What they're looking for is content that users click through to, but don't read. The clickbait headline was part of that, setting up the expectation that the user would want to at least a little time reading it (and then failing to), but it sounds as if they're trying to eliminate bad content via the measure of whether or not people spend any time reading it.

Re:Stop calling them clickbait (0)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 5 months ago | (#47752739)

You're wrong. Here's why. "Bait" as you use it can be good, and for a number of reasons listed in the article you mention.

Clickbait specifically applies to things like advertising and titles on news aggregators. It can also reference baity headlines on the same site,

Here's what I found when I went to MSNBC because my go to news site had few details on today's active shooter incident.

        1Thousands pay tribute to 'gentle giant'
        2Scott Walker's big blunderWatch
        3Gay marriage comes closer to SCOTUS
        4The wrong prosecutor for the job?Watch
        5'Weâ(TM)re guilty until proven innocent'
        6Obama caught between rock and hard placeWatch
        7Darren Wilson supporters 'won't back down'
        8Paul Ryan runs from DREAMers
        9Military: Fort Lee shooter has died
        10Letter from Foley details detention

So here's why I immediately went to another site:

        1 Who the fuck is this?
        2 Everything ever?
        3 Closer means nothing
        4 If you have to ask, yeah.
        5 Yep, that's America for ya
        6 Like every other decision where (R) are involved?
        7 I don't know who this is, and it's not as baity.
        8 Yep
        9 I didn't read this one
        10 I didn't read this one, also who the shit is Foley?

This was MSNBC trying to get me to click on news when I went to their site for news. If I read it every day, maybe I'd idly click on one of those. Since I don't, I got bored and gave up.

Now, defend the practice of making the user click on more stories than they normally would, as a regular reader. It is wasting the reader's time, and gathering more advertising from companies that use the readers' dollars to sell them advertising so they buy more products.

Dollars are wasted. and people don't read the articles for details, so this kind of horseshit is completely unnecessary.

Your turn.

Re:Stop calling them clickbait (4, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#47754053)

Clickbait in print is called "sensationalism". It defines some genres of media (tabloids) and was avoided until recently by companies that were considered higher caliber journalism. That we have no "news" above sensationalism today is telling in my opinion.

With all the hyper sensationalism today, I would be interested in seeing a large "news" site like "The Guardian" drop the sensationalism for a few weeks and see what happens. I'm guessing that readership may actually increase, if for no other reason than the appearance of being different. In a society full of bullshit a little bit of honesty may go a long way.

Could be a pipe dream too, not everyone is intelligent or worried about honesty.

Re:Stop calling them clickbait (1)

mhollis (727905) | about 5 months ago | (#47756437)

what about the Page Three Girl

That is very important news!

can they filter ice bucket challenges? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751779)

Every other post in my news feed seems to be somebody doing an ice bucket challenge. Is there some way they can filter them as duplicate content?

Re:can they filter ice bucket challenges? (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 5 months ago | (#47755435)

Seriously. It's bad enough with an extension to block auto playing videos, but on a computer where the videos auto play you could hook up a hydroelectric generator to all that falling water and sell the power to raise money for charity.

Doing it for their own good, not their users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751801)

Facebook is only cracking down on clickbait because they don't want other entities siphoning off ad revenue they could be getting themselves. If vapid, inflammatory, mindless shit gets them more ad placements then they'll put it up without hesitation.

Why anyone uses the place is beyond me. Their users are just cattle to them. You don't need any more proof than what you can see when you go to place an advertisement. You can drill down to any imaginable demographic in any imaginable geographic location (Both referenced against eachother) It's pretty disturbing.

Let's hope it's a trend.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47751857)

that continues on to other sites, like Wired, or that one site with "News for nerds."

Automated Clickbait Answers (1)

m3000 (46427) | about 5 months ago | (#47751947)

Often there may be an interesting tidbit in the clickbait articles, but it's obviously annoying to have to actually click on them and find the actual sentence of info buried in 5 paragraphs of fluff and 20 ads.

There are some Twitter feeds that spoil the clickbait from it (https://twitter.com/SavedYouAClick [twitter.com] is probably the most "useful" at this) but it'd be nice to automate the process so that when someone posted any headline with clickbait, Facebook would just drop the answer right below. Actually a browser plugin would work even better, since it could work on any site.

Re:Automated Clickbait Answers (2)

pkinetics (549289) | about 5 months ago | (#47751975)

I feel the same way when any site makes me do some stupid 20 click throughs to read an entire article.

The multiple clicks pissing me off has reached the point of 1 now. If your presenting information, and you have to make me reload the damn page 10 times to update a little paragraph, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Automated Clickbait Answers (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 months ago | (#47752325)

No, they aren't doing it wrong. They are doing it right for their business model, because it works. If nobody saw that crap, click through the click bait, and didn't click the "share to see what happened next" only to be tricked into sharing their account details and not ever seeing what they came to see, their business model would fail.

But enough people fall for the bullshit that I really believe that is how we get GWB and BHO as presidents!

Poor HuffPost... (2)

hondo77 (324058) | about 5 months ago | (#47752027)

...FB just banned their existence.

Stop there (4, Funny)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 5 months ago | (#47752065)

They need to be careful and make sure they don't reduce Robin Williams tributes or Ice Bucket Challenges. Otherwise there won't be anything left :(

Re:Stop there (1)

starless (60879) | about 5 months ago | (#47752195)

They need to be careful and make sure they don't reduce Robin Williams tributes or Ice Bucket Challenges. Otherwise there won't be anything left :(

Don't worry - there will always be pictures of food and people's children and pets...

Re:Stop there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47752747)

Better than WHAT xxxxx ARE YOU?? quizzes

Facebook is terrified that users will learn how to (1)

devnullrandom (3490995) | about 5 months ago | (#47752145)

'Nuff said

Didn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47752245)

I clicked a link called "Facebook Cleans Up News Feed By Reducing Click-Bait Headlines". Turned out just to be a click-bait story.

Buzzfeed's not nearly the worst (4, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47752457)

Mainstream news outlets are a lot more guilty of clickbait headlines than Buzzfeed. Don't get me wrong, Buzzfeed is a dopey website, but the mainstream sites have taken it to a whole 'nother level.

If you use the twitter, the absolutely best follow is someone called, "@SavedYouAClick", who basically takes clickbait headlines and defuses them by reading the article and giving you the bit you actually might want to know, saving you from having to click and a barrage of ads and trackers. They're really really useful, and now whenever I see clickbait, before I even think of clicking, I go see @SavedYouAClick. I wish I knew who it was so I could thank them personally.

For example, from the other day:

No you haven’t. RT @EliteDaily: Apparently You’ve Been Tying Your Shoes The Wrong Way Your Entire Life:


Nope. RT @HuffingtonPost: Is Jennifer Lawrence starring in Quentin Tarantino's next movie?

My favorite is when @SavedYouAClick really nails some sacred cow:

"Change your passwords" and "don't be stupid." RT @CNNMoney: Ok so you've been hacked. Now what? Here's what to do right now:

Re:Buzzfeed's not nearly the worst (1)

Liselle (684663) | about 5 months ago | (#47753417)

I wish I knew who it was so I could thank them personally.

The person who runs that Twitter account is a guy named Jake Beckman.

I guess I saved you a Google search.

Re:Buzzfeed's not nearly the worst (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47753613)

I guess I saved you a Google search

If you can lend me $50, you can save me from going to work tomorrow.

Advertising (2)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about 5 months ago | (#47752555)

This is solely about viral marketing and Facebook ad revenue. Preventing people from seeing naturally shared articles will prevent things from naturally going viral. In order to get views marketers will need to pay for views.

Re:Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47754171)

This. Any company that is long know for outright user-hostile behavior in the name of making money should always be eyed with skepticism. This is the perfect example. They dont make moves like this without a profit motive. This would be like Verizon offering free bandwidth*. Better check the fine print.

Have they (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 5 months ago | (#47753151)

turned off Top Stories yet?

It's bullshit that one has to reset a boolean preference every few days for something no one wants.

Now if they can only get rid of chain postings (2)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 5 months ago | (#47753463)

And every annoying "Name a word without the letter F. Bet you can't" post.

Re:Now if they can only get rid of chain postings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47755707)

"I re-posted this, I bet 99% of you won't". Too damn right I won't...I'm not an idiot.

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How about doing that here? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 5 months ago | (#47754203)

I know another place where there is a lot of click-bait links and summaries.

Re:How about doing that here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47755215)

True dat.... I misread the headline, thought Slashdot was cleaning up its own act... :-)

You've changed, man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47754479)

In the quest for the Almighty Dollar, Facebook ain't what she used to be...

This [facebook.com] is what users want, which is what FB was 4 years ago.

touche (1)

kaychoro (1340087) | about 5 months ago | (#47756361)

If only Slashdot could do the same

FazeBook itself is "click-bait" (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 5 months ago | (#47758269)


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