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Fighting Clickbait: Facebook Changes Its News Feed Algorithm Again

Learn how FB is stopping clickbait on its platform

In an article from its official newsroom blog page, the social network stated it wants more authentic communication on its website and that it continues to work hard to give more place for stories that are considered genuine by its users.

To deal with the matter, FB is changing the News Feed by updating how the system recognizes phrases which are frequently used in clickbait headlines. Thousands upon thousands of headlines are labeled as clickbait if the following key points are found:

  • If the headline consists of facts needed to understand what the content material of the article is.
  • If the headline overemphasizes the article and generates deceptive expectations for the reader.

You have probably noticed such headlines and most likely clicked on some of them. Such headlines challenge whether or not you'll really believe what you're going to read and are a feature of some websites. In Facebook's News Feed they might be particularly bothersome and even lead to dangerous malware.

Facebook developed an algorithm that examines a group of clickbait headlines to figure out what keywords are typically utilized in clickbait headlines and which are found in other headlines. Facebook, in fact, generated a big database of such clickbait headlines by monitoring thousands of posts. All this information was afterward given to the algorithm to let it match keywords with titles in the database much like the email spam filtration functions.

Furthermore, links that happen to be created from web pages involving clickbait headlines will be put lower in the News Feed, basically removing the benefit of using clickbait tricks. Those web pages will face their traffic via Facebook drop. Writers who regularly place clickbaits have to anticipate their distribution to shrink. Nevertheless, the verdict is not inescapable. Improving your posting habits might lead to normalization of your distribution.

It's not the very first time that FB is replying to user comments to cut down clickbait. The organization previously integrated a technique by which it logged the time users spent off the News Feed after clicking on a web link or headline. Should they return back to the News Feed quite rapidly, it meant the URL they clicked on had very little of interesting or important info or was irrelevant.

More Stories By David Balaban

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 10 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs the Privacy-PC.com project which presents expert opinions on the contemporary information security matters, including social engineering, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy and white hat hacking. As part of his work at Privacy-PC, Mr. Balaban has interviewed such security celebrities as Dave Kennedy, Jay Jacobs and Robert David Steele to get firsthand perspectives on hot InfoSec issues. David has a strong malware troubleshooting background, with the recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.