Wednesday 28 September 2016

Facebook promises to crack down on clickbait

James Titcomb

Published 05/08/2016 | 08:18

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Mark Zuckerberg

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If you feel like you've been seeing too many headlines like this on Facebook, the company's latest pledge to clamp down on teasing but ultimately disappointing headlines will come as a relief.

Facebook announced on Thursday that it would change the algorithm that dictates what its 1.7 billion members see in their News Feed after many users complained that misleading stories were appearing too frequently.

It said that in the coming weeks the News Feed will automatically filter out headlines that “withhold information” about an article’s content and create “misleading expectations”.

It is the second time in two years that the company has pledged to reduce the number of “clickbait” articles – stories with tantalising headlines encouraging readers to click on them – that appear in feeds.

However, the change announced on Thursday goes further than the effort announced in 2014, which punished stories that were often clicked on but rarely subsequently shared, or were only glanced at rather than comprehensively read before users returned to Facebook.

Facebook has trained its algorithm with thousands of offending headlines, such as “He put garlic in his shoes before going to bed and what happens next is hard to believe” and “The dog barked at the deliveryman and his reaction was priceless” to identify what articles to demote.

“With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds,” said Facebook researchers Alex Peysakhovich and Kristin Hendrix.

Telegraph.co.uk

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