Facebook to clamp down on clickbait articles

Facebook announces new technology that will automatically diminish prominence of 'clickbait' stories from its news feed 

Facebook has intensified its crackdown on so-called “clickbait” stories that appears on the social network. Clickbait articles tend to have intriguing headlines – such as “you’ll never guess what happened next” – in order to drive web traffic.

Facebook says it can now automatically suppress these stories, through a new technology that scans the social network for tell-tale clickbait headline phrases on its news feed section - such as "you'll never guess why" and "his response was priceless".

This scanning technology was created by a team at Facebook who manually reviewed "thousands of headlines" to put together a list of commonly identifiable clickbait traits.

Headlines which are flagged as clickbait will be automatically diminished in prominence on Facebook's news feed.

"We're making an update to News Feed ranking to further reduce clickbait headlines in the coming weeks," a post on Facebook’s newswire read. "With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds."

Facebook had previously attempted to diminish clickbait by timing how long users remained on an external website after clicking on a headline. However, it later said that this process wasn't accurate enough.

The company said it now categorises headlines as clickbait if they withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is and also if they exaggerate the article to create misleading expectations.

"People have told us they like seeing authentic stories the most," Facebook said.