You've spent months seeing your News Feed littered with headlines promising you that you won't believe what happens next, but now Facebook is finally taking steps to cut down on spammy, obnoxious clickbait.
While headlines like the one above — which generally pique your curiosity without actually giving you any real information whatsoever — tend to get a lot of likes, Facebook found that users actually feel quite the opposite, explaining in a recent blog post:
However, when we asked people in an initial survey what type of content they preferred to see in their News Feeds, 80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.
Over time, stories with "click-bait" headlines can drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.
Now, Facebook is going to remedy the problem by looking at how long people actually spend reading the articles they click on, as well as whether or not the number of people sharing a post matches up a high number of clicks. If a significant number of users are heading straight back to Facebook after clicking through without ever sharing the link, that particular story will start to get throttled.
Of course, this isn't the first time Facebook has promised to clean up News Feeds. It's previous target "like-bait" was tackled just this past April. That crusade, however, focused on posts that explicitly asked users to "like and share." This is the first time Facebook has actively gone after publishers using misleading tactics to lure in precious clicks.
In other words, if it works, you're about to start seeing a lot fewer stories in your News Feed high on intrigue and low on actual substance. Which means that sites like Upworthy, which have been relying on the tried and true bait-for-clicks formula, are about to be out of luck. And if there's anything that actually can restore our faith in humanity, it's that. [Facebook]