Facebook today announced that they're taking an active roll in crushing the proliferation of clickbait on your Facebook feed.

“We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles.” Facebook said.

In the announcement of the new update on Facebook's newsroom site they defined clickbait as:

  • headlines that withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is.
  • Headlines that exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader.

This isn't the first time Facebook has attempted to punish clickbait sites. A previous update keeps a tab on user bounce rates. Users who returned quickly from a site that was linked to them from Facebook was flagged as being low value. However this change hasn't made the impact that they initially hoped it would.

To pin-point what exactly clickbait is they enslaved a team to go through “thousands of headlines” as well as “validating each other’s work to identify a large set of clickbait headlines.”

Matthew Rust, a professional with an opinion is nonplussed by the change. “I'm imagining a utopia where there's nothing on my Facebook feed except those notifications telling me what I posted x number of years ago.”

Regular users of the site won't notice the engagement of personal posts changing, but pages and businesses that rely on “We Literally Shit Our Pants When We Heard This Thing Kylie Jenner Said!” type headlines can expect a significant drop in engagement. Facebook has however graciously pointed out that “if a Page stops posting clickbait headlines, their posts will stop being impacted by this change.”

Using emotive language to manipulate people into clicking through to content is far from over though. The syntax of clickbait will continue to grow and change as both the audience and it's writers grow immune to it. Facebook is just giving it a helping hand along it's journey.

The other alternative is that we return to simpler times of traditional print media and do puns.

The update to the algorithm is expected to start rolling out “in the coming weeks”.