Facebook makes changes to News Feed, targets ”Click-baiting” articles


By Nixon Kanali, Nairobi 

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Facebook has adjusted the way its users see articles on its site to reduce what it called “click bait” – links with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.

According to Facebook’s news blog posted on Monday, the improvements to News Feed is aimed helping people find the posts and links from publishers that are most interesting and relevant, and to continue to weed out stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see.

“clickbait” is “when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more​ without telling them much information about what they will see.” A tactic mostly used  by viral media sites , but according to a Facebook survey  80 percent of their users now want a different thing.

With 829 million daily active users worldwide, Facebook says its algorithm will now consider much time users spend reading an article as a way of judging the importance. Also, the company will examine how many users discuss or share an article.

”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”, it said

With this update Facebook also says it 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 News Feed when it rank stories with links in them.

The company has also come up with an update on how users share links in facebook posts.

Oftenly, When people share a link on Facebook it often appears in News Feed with a large picture, a headline and some text that gives context on the link. The company said that  people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions.

With this update, the company will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.

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