Facebook Moves Against Click-Bait Headlines…What Happens Next Will Blow Your Mind

Facebook announced on Monday an update to the News Feed algorithm designed to “weed out stories that people frequently tell [them] are spammy and that they don’t want to see.” The update specifically moves against “Click-Baiting,” the practice of publishing a headline designed to titillate the reader yet reveal little information about the article. “Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks,” Facebook explained, “which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed.”

Headlines of this sort include phrases like “…You Won’t Believe What Happened,” “…When I Saw This I Cried,” and for list posts #x/y/z Will Blow Your Mind/Break Your Heart/Restore Your Faith in Humanity.”


Facebook reported that in an initial survey, respondents reported that 80% of the time they preferred headlines that informed them of the article contents enough to know if they wanted to read it or not before clicking through.

Facebook is determining which headlines are clickbait by measuring how much time people spend away from Facebook after clicking a link. Those who read the article will spend some time doing so. Those who click their “Back” browser button immediately will be assumed to have seen something they were not interested in. Another factor Facebook will examine is the ratio of clicks to likes and comments, as a ratio of high clicks to low likes/comments also suggests low interest/value.

Tony Ahn is one of the most sought-after public relations consultants in Asia. He is credited with bringing reputation management to the Philippines after opening the first reputation management consultancy in Manila, which has grown into full-service digital public relations agency Tony Ahn & Co. The agency now counts many of the largest local and international brands as its clients. He also lectures at De La Salle University, and frequently speaks on the subject of digital marketing at conferences.

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