Representatives from the social media site Facebook reported on the official Facebook news blog that improvements to the site are on the horizon. The research scientist and product specialist announced on Aug. 25 efforts to eliminate click-bait posts from the Facebook “news feed.” Click-bait is a term applied to the discreet actions of publishers who manipulate headlines with limited or tantalizing information to get people to click on the article for more information. It is considered a psychological ‘trick’ to gain additional views for monetary gain.
The Facebook representatives took a survey to find out what type of content the users preferred to see in their news feed. Most of the survey responders stated they wanted to see headlines with helpful information in the title so they could decide if they wanted to open the link to read the full article in its entirety.
Previously in 2011, the Intrapersonal Self-Awareness examiner from Examiner.com wanted to see how many viewers would click on a subtle headline titled “Click here! Click here!” with no other information. Understandable, the headline was edited to “Are you easily influenced? Click here!” after the initial publication, but the author found numerous viewers clicked on the original title. They were influenced by the nebulous headline and the exclamation points. They were forced open the link to find out what the article was about. Her experiment verified people will click on tantalizing (or teasing) headlines and are indeed influenced by ‘exciting’ headlines.
The vast majority of individuals become frustrated after opening up an ambiguous headline when they realize the content was not what they expected. This annoyance is being addressed by the Facebook officials and the click-bait headlines will soon be controlled in the news feed.