What to know about Facebook’s war on clickbait
Facebook is reducing the reach of posts with sensational headlines.
The key updates:
- Individual posts that intentionally omit or exaggerate information in their headlines will have reduced reach in the platform’s News Feed. For example, posts with headlines such as “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe” (one of Facebook’s made-up examples) will be punished for leaving out key information just to titillate users.
- The announcement is a follow-up to a change Facebook made to its algorithm in August that penalized pages for posting clickbait headlines. The difference in yesterday’s announcement is that the new tweak is more specific, targeting individual posts.
- Facebook’s algorithm tweak in August aimed to cut off content farms and other disreputable publishers. By focusing on the level of individual posts, Facebook can punish bad headlines by so-called premium publishers.
The key numbers:
- 44 percent of Americans get their news from the platform, according to Pew Research Center
- 75 percent of adults in an Ipsos Public Affairs survey believed fake headlines on Facebook
- 84 percent of adults in a Pew survey were confident in their ability to detect fake news
The marketers’ view:
Wesley Farris, director of partnerships at Digilant: “In theory, the individual-post level should give [Facebook] more accuracy [in detecting clickbait]. If they were previously blocking at the page level, they’d succeed with the publishers whose majority of content is clickbait, but they might miss the reputable publication that publishes the occasional nefarious headline. … Clickbait headlines typically follow the same formats, so if Facebook can build that truth set, they should be able to roll out a fairly accurate, automated process to remove these types of articles from News Feeds without the involvement of manual eyeballs.”
Mike Dossett, associate director of digital strategy at RPA: “What this update reveals is the somewhat expected detail that they’re getting smarter about detecting misrepresented content, whether it’s ‘fake news’ or simply spammy content.”
Nate Elliott, independent marketing tech adviser: “This will be Facebook’s eternal fight. Just as Google has a massive team fighting web spam, Facebook will fight clickbait every day for the rest of its existence.”
The big picture:
Ever since the presidential election, Facebook has been under fire for its role in spreading misleading news. The company responded by sponsoring fact-checking initiatives, but these efforts have been ineffective, according to The Guardian.
Facebook has also made several measurement errors over the past nine months, and the most recent snafu was announced during the upfronts, where TV stalwarts took pot shots at digital media.
“Timing is no accident,” said Rob Griffin, chief innovation officer at Almighty. “With all their screw-ups, they need some wins. This is an easy one.”
‘Total whack a mole’: Rogue political ads create mounting brand safety problems for publishers
The political ads flowing through open exchanges are creating a brand safety dilemma, despite the safeguards put in place.
‘An election night that could last weeks’: How news publishers are updating their digital strategies for the results long haul
Before they are able to make their call on who wins the presidency, news publishers could have a month-and-a-half past Nov.3 to compete for audiences.
‘Asymmetrical in every sense’: The latest console wars see Sony and Microsoft pursue diverging battle plans
The console wars are back, setting the stage for the latest bout in the long-running battle between Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox brands.
SponsoredB2B events were broken before the pandemic, their online reinvention is creating positive change
Kim Darling, executive producer, Inbound Farewell lanyards, business cards and branded pens — it’ll be some time before people get their hands on these souvenirs of in-person events again. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform the way people work, buy, sell, socialize and entertain themselves, the global events industry is facing its biggest-ever challenge. […]
‘Walk before you run’: Sports publishers look to blow out their betting content
Over the past 12 months, several large sports media brands have signed partnership deals with sports books
‘It’s a virtuous cycle’: Audiences and advertisers seek health and wellness content and publishers are seeing green
Publishers are building new content products that give audiences more health and wellness content and advertisers more partner opportunities.