You have probably come across headlines that start with something like this: “You will never guess what this baby chimpanzee can do” or “What this surgical procedure does to your face will shock you.” Facebook’s recent announcement of filtering junk posts could lead to the demise of the annoying click-bait articles that keep popping up on your News Feed. For those who are not familiar with click-bait articles – these are articles that do not reveal a lot of information in the title. Instead, these articles contain images and phrases that entice you into clicking on the link for more information. The more clicks these articles receive, the higher up they appear on News Feeds. Many Facebook users have complained that these articles have been spamming their News Feed, and that they do not provide any usable or relevant information.
Due to the increasing frequency of click-bait articles on News Feed, users might eventually start to see lesser posts from their contacts and friends. However, with Facebook’s new strategy of suppressing articles with click-bait headlines, users will be able to view relevant posts by friends, Groups and Pages.
Facebook is trying to accomplish the difficult task of distinguishing between spammy click-bait articles and informative articles by observing the amount of time people spend on reading them. If users are clicking through and are not spending enough time reading an article, Facebook can determine that the article might not be providing anything of value to the user, and might be an article with a click-bait headline. With this method in place, some of the Pages and Groups that generate click-bait articles might see a decline in the amount of clicks received. According to Khalid El-Arini, Facebook’s research scientist, and Joyce Tsang, product specialist, the social media website is trying to filter out junk articles and posts, so that users can enjoy more valuable content that they can relate to.