Facebook gives clickbait the finger

Facebook is cracking down on clickbait, pledging to further reduce the presence of misleading and spammy stories in users' news feeds.

"We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles," said Facebook on its official blog. "These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer."

Facebook is predominantly taking aim at "curiosity gap" headlines and exaggerated headlines that withhold information required to understand the article. These could include examples such as: 'When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!'; 'He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe'; 'The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless'; or "Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!". 

These changes will come into effect over the next couple of weeks, and Facebook says that websites who rely on clickbait-style headlines should expect their distribution to decrease. Pages that consistently post clickbait headlines will appear lower in a user's news feed, but higher quality sites should remain untouched. 

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