Facebook is continuing in its efforts to help its users avoid unwanted links and content that get posted to their pages. Its latest effort is aimed at stopping the proliferations of misleading links to other sites known as Click-Bait.
We have all been victims of Click-Bait. It is when you see an interesting looking story under a deliberately misleading headline like, “Cure for Cancer, ” or “Mila Kunis Revealed to Really be a Man.” When you click on the link and get to the other website you find that the story has nothing to do with its headline or, even worse, it was just a gimmick to drive traffic to a retail site. Many Internet sites know that most people don’t really stay after they realize that they have been fooled, but do this just to drive up their total views.
Facebook will be cracking down on such links in its newsfeeds. It will do so by monitoring how long it takes people to return to its site after clicking on a link. Less time means that the link was misleading and so it will be removed.
Another way in which Facebook will determine if a link is Click-Bait will be to see if users post anything about the stories on their timelines or share them with friends. A lack of such additional activity will be a red flag signaling the company that it should remove the link.
The company says that it is engaging in this new initiative after a survey of its users showed that 80% want to only see headlines that give them an accurate assessment of the content before making the decision to click on a link.
According to the social media site, such misleading links, “drown out content from friends and Pages that people really care about.”
In addition, Facebook will also limit shares of stories to the link format, which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post, rather than links that are buried in photo captions. The link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to click through. It says that this is preferable because this format also makes it easier for someone to click through on mobile devices, which have a smaller screen.