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Facebook’s doing some spring cleaning. The social media site’s rolling-out two new updates for a better Newsfeed that wants to finally help clamp down on annoying click-bait posts.
You know those posts on Facebook that read “[SHOCK] At 17, she did THIS in public high school, EVERY day!” or “You’ll NEVER believe which two stars got into a fight on the red carpet last night!! CLICK to find out which starlet they were fighting over!!”
These links, referred to as click-bait or spam, give users false impressions of content, encouraging them to click (and then leave). The more clicks, the more impressions a site gets and can generate more ad revenue, or gather more user data. It’s a tricky, annoying way of making money and Facebook wants to change this.
The blue social media giant will use a couple of interesting techniques to help distinguish the crafty headlines leading to good stories from the click-baity ones that leads to crappy stories. It explains:
“One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to Newsfeed when we rank stories with links in them.”
Summed up, Facebook will essentially monitor whether people actually read the articles they click on by looking at the third party site’s bounce rate.
Another technique Facebook’s implementing is by weighing up posts’ popularity (Likes, Mentions, Shares) versus their clicks:
“Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.”
On a different note, Facebook is also updating the way links are shared. “With this update, we will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates,” it says.
Facebook’s studies have found that posts that include the link format (instead of links embedded into statuses or photos) have received twice as many clicks. If you’re a publisher trying to get people to you site, you would want to use the Share Link feature.