We’ve all seen those annoying, bullshit clickbait headlines that include things like “old weird trick”, “you’ll never believe”, “shocking new theory”, “you’ll be hooked” and so on. Sadly, a lot of us have clicked on them to be woefully disappointed, but the publishers don’t care — by the time you realise you’ve been had, they’ve already shown you heaps of banner advertising and made a couple of dollars from you.
While avoiding clickbait is as simple as being aware of it and limiting your curiosity (surely THIS article will be legit!!), Facebook are also trying to do something about it. They want your News Feed to be a place where you catch up with what’s happening around family and friends, not where you click on the latest garbage from BuzzFeed.
Rather than remove this junk altogether, Facebook allows users to mark news items as fakes or hoaxes, so they will either (a) appear less frequently in your News Feed, or (b) will be flagged as possible junk, so you can safely skip over them.
Some of Facebook’s examples of junk headlines are particularly amusing, including “Click here to win a lifetime supply of coffee”, through to “Man sees dinosaur on hike in Utah”.
Addressing this junk is now easy, at least on the website (it’s not clear yet just how well this will work on the mobile apps), as shown below:
So, do us all a favour. The next time you’re browsing Facebook and you come across something that’s obvious clickbait, don’t click on it. Don’t share it with your friends. Don’t comment on it. Just flag it as false news and help save everyone else from the cascade of junk.