Facebook to battle clickbait headlines with new algorithm

Facebook says that three new updates are especially built to tackle clickbait headlines in the News Feed

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 19, 2017 3:06 pm
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Facebook will be doing a series of changes to its algorithm to filter out clickbait headlines from your News Feed. The company published a blog post on Wednesday, outlining changes that it’s going to do battle clickbait. It’s not the first time the social networking giant has done something to tackle this issue.

Last year as well, it updated News Feed to reduce clickbait spreading from sources that consistently post such headlines and even punished publishers for doing so. “We’ve learned from last year’s update that we can better detect different kinds of clickbait headlines by separately — rather than jointly — identifying signals that withhold or exaggerate information,” noted Facebook Newsroom post.

The company notes it has now been working to understand what people find authentic and what people do not. The three new updates are especially built on this work so that people will see even fewer clickbait stories in their New Feed, with more stress on the stories they find authentic.

According to Facebook, it is now taking into account clickbait at the individual post level in addition to the domain and page level. The algorithm will now look at whether a ‘headline withholds information’ or ‘exaggerates information’.

We addressed this similarly to how we previously worked to reduce clickbait: We categorized hundreds of thousands of headlines as clickbait or not clickbait by considering if the headline exaggerates the details of a story, and separately if the headline withholds information. A team at Facebook reviewed thousands of headlines using these criteria, validating each other’s work to identify large sets of clickbait headlines,” added Facebook post.

Facebook will also analyse clickbait headlines for additional languages and not just English. The company says that it will identify what phrases are commonly used in clickbait headlines, similar to email spam filter mechanism.

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