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Facebook clickbait crackdown: Facebook update to weed out clickbait headlines

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Facebook clickbait links are about to lose ground on the popular social media website. On Monday, an update to the site will attempt to "weed out" clickbait on users' news feeds, according to USA Today.

Links will be assessed on the basis of "how much time people spend away from Facebook and how often users are sharing and discussing stories with friends." The prominence of these links will be adjusted accordingly.

Facebook research scientist Khalid El-Arini and product specialist Joyce Tang explained the problem with these sensational Facebook clickbait links. El-Arini and Tang wrote in a joint statement.

"'Click-baiting' is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. . . .

A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months. We’re making these changes to ensure that click-bait content does not drown out the things that people really want to see on Facebook."

On Facebook, clickbait is the post-modern equivalent of the old bait-and-switch, according to PC Mag. Headlines promise rapid weight loss, scandalous gossip or get-rich-quick schemes to entice viewers to click on the link.

Those who fall for the ruse soon discover that the Facebook clickbait links promise far more than they can deliver. That's the negative experience that the social media site is trying to minimize for its users.