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Facebook battles clickbait on a post-by-post basis

It's refining its methods for spotting deceptive articles.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 17, 2017
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Facebook has been steadily refining its attempts to fight clickbait articles over the years, and now it's getting very, very specific. It's updating its News Feed processing methods to account for clickbait on a post-by-post level, not just domains and Facebook pages. This should "more precisely" downplay the number of misleading stories cluttering your timeline, the social network says. Moreover, it's promising a more exacting approach when it looks at individual headlines.

Until now, Facebook examined clickbait titles in a holistic way: it looked for both the exaggerated language ("you have to see this!") and deliberate attempts to withhold info ("eat this every day"). Now, it's considering those factors separately. The split promises a more effective approach to culling clickbait -- in theory, shady writers are more likely to face punishment if they commit just one of the offenses.

Facebook doesn't believe that most pages will see "significant changes" to the availability of their posts. If all goes well, this should only affect those publishers that count on clickbait to pump up their views. It probably won't make a night-and-day difference in your News Feed, but don't be surprised if you see more substantive links going forward.

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