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Facebook moves to end clickbait… and what it’s done will shock you

Okay, so it’s actually pretty standard.

Facebook announced yesterday that it would be targeting individual posts that withhold “crucial details or mislead people.” Last year, the platform was updated to jointly manage clickbait headlines, but the company is moving now to a more specific approach.

“One of our News Feed values is authentic communication, so we’ve been working to understand what people find authentic and what people do not,” a press release reads.

Anyone who has used Facebook (basically everyone minus hipsters and your grandparents) knows that authenticity is not exactly what the current news feed offers. Aside from the lies of happy lives, feeds are often filled with posts like “this green tea that is the secret to ETERNAL LIFE” or “what this dying dog does next WILL SHOCK YOU” (he dies).

The company has reviewed hundreds of thousands of such headlines to identify common phrases used for clickbait. These phrases often exaggerate a story’s details or withholds vital information for the sake of clicks.

Facebook has been ‘working to understand what people find authentic and what people do not’

By identifying clickbait, Facebook has the ability to eliminate any and all posts that employ it. Unfortunately for users, this isn’t its current plan. Clickbait articles are merely being demoted on the News Feed, placed below posts with regular headlines.

But worry not — if you’re looking to join the war against clickbait, there are some alternatives while you wait for Facebook to cull it completely.

Stop Clickbait is a Facebook page that painstakingly clicks through popular clickbait posts to let you know quickly just what song Miley Cyrus hates singing.

Downworthy is a browser extension that replaces “hyperbolic headlines from bombastic viral websites with a slightly more realistic version.” The word “literally” becomes “figuratively,” “can’t even handle” becomes “can totally handle without any significant issue,” and “you won’t believe” becomes “in all likelihood, you’ll believe.”

They may not completely remove clickbait, but you may just regain your sanity.

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More

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