Facebook announced last week that they are making an update to their News Feed to reduce the amount of clickbait headlines that are shown.

They identified clickbait headlines by categorizing tens of thousands of headlines with the following criteria: 1. If the headlines withholds information required to understand the context of the article and 2. If the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations.

What Is Clickbait?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of clickbait is: “online material (such as headlines) designed to make readers want to click on hyperlinks especially when the links lead to content of dubious value or interest.”

In their release, Facebook provided two examples of how a headline either withheld information or had an exaggerated headline – examples you probably have seen in your News Feed of late. A headline that withheld information was “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” – this headline misleads the reader because apples are only bad for you if you eat too many apples every day.

A headline that created misleading expectations is: “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…” – this headline, Facebook said, withheld information required to understand the article, like what happened and who tripped.

Impact of the News Feed

Facebook said in their release that most Pages won’t see an impact, but websites who rely on clickbait headlines for distribution should expect to see a decrease in visibility. If you need help in writing headlines that meet Facebook’s guidelines, then check out this article.

One of my favorite follows on Twitter is @SavedYouAClick. They are obviously big fans of this:

What do you think? Should Facebook be penalizing clickbait headlines? Let us know on Twitter @EdgeWebRadio