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Facebook is trying to kill clickbait

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Social media managers will now need to revise their strategies for getting clicks. In its ongoing crusade against spammy links that clutter up your news feed, Facebook today announced that it's rolling out two new updates that will allow it to reduce click-baiting headlines and surface content users actually want to engage with.

80 percent of surveyed users told Facebook they want fewer baity headlines

Likes on Facebook translate to the content appearing higher in people's news feeds, increasing clicks and creating an incentive to bait users. However, clicks don't necessarily translate to meaningful engagement, and oftentimes, as the company has observed, users just return to the news feed for their next click — a click that will more often than not be another bit of clickbait. In fact, 80 percent of users surveyed by the company said that they wanted headlines that allowed them a better sense of the story ahead. This update will allow the network to track how long users spend away from the news feed. It will also penalize content that doesn't allow for lengthier engagement.

It isn't just headlines either; Facebook now wants links that contain context. Thus, the site will start to prioritize posts that contain some information from the link, and bury captioned pictures or baity status updates. All this will allow users to spend more time away from the network.

While building updates that helps push users away from the news feed may sound bizarre for a social media giant, it does jibe with the company's goal of fostering a good user experience while cutting down on spam. Indeed, a previous update penalized publishers for hunting for likes and share in their links. As the announcement makes clear, "We’re making these changes to ensure that click-bait content does not drown out the things that people really want to see on Facebook."