This will make your Facebook feed a little less annoying.

There’s much to love about Facebook and all the new features it’s been rolling out. But notice how your updated News Feed seems all cluttered up? There’s always a whole bunch of posts that read along the lines of  “you’ll never guess what happened next”.

These articles are known as Clickbait – they tend to carry intriguing headlines which suggest there is more to the story than there actually is. They make use of alluring phrases in order to drive web traffic. And they’re horribly annoying to the reader. It’s a waste of a click, a waste of your time, you basically get nothing out of it, except may be a little annoyed.

Facebook has now intensified its crackdown on so-called clickbait news. The social network says it can now automatically suppress these stories. It has built a technology that scans for tell-tale signs of clickbait headlines on its news feed section – phrases 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 for using such phrasing 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,” read a post on Facebook’s blog. “With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds.”

Good riddance to stories like these!

Facebook previously tried to tackle clickbait through another means – by timing how long users remained on an external website after clicking on a headline. But it said that this process wasn’t accurate enough. It said it now categorizes 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,” the company added. Let’s hope this move by Facebook will mean we get to read more relevant and meaningful content in our feed, it would be a welcome relief from all the cheap quality gibberish content making its rounds on the internet. Thoughts?

Anisha Sawant