Facebook’s new algorithm, targeted at minimising “click-bait” (headlines that are designed to generate clicks, but are not reflective of the content on offer), and cleaning up everyone’s newsfeed will be a welcome addition to the social network. Earlier this year, a new system was introduced whereby “bounce rates,” would be taken into account when analysing the validity of a headline. The bounce rate is the amount of times someone clicks on a link and then leaves instantly – likely because the headline was different to, or an exaggeration of, whatever it was communicating.
This new algorithm, will essentially look for phrasing that is consistent to click-bait headlines, and then use a scoring system to move it down the newsfeed, or remove it altogether. The clever part, is that it punishes the item itself and not the advertiser. Facebook’s vice president of product management, Adam Missouri said that, “If you post 50 times a day and one of those is a piece of click bait, this won’t affect you. If you post 50 pieces of click-bait, this will affect you a lot.”
This of course, is designed to stop the punishment of accidental click-baiters, or those who may be inexperienced and copying headlines they wrongly see as effective.
All of this is part of Facebook’s ongoing mission to tidy up the news feed, and make it a more viable tool for media engagement, as the business moves towards increased relevancy in the mass media market.
The organisation has publicly said that it doesn’t want it’s hard work to be destroyed by advertising, and part of that is headlines that are reflective of the offer or content on offer. Many have seen this issue as the genesis of Twitter’s dwindling following and with many major online entities now focused on authenticity over the bottom line, it will only make news more interesting, and digital advertising more difficult.