Should Social Media Platforms Crackdown on Click Baits?

click bait

click bait

There is a lot of content on the Internet, in fact we all consume from this vast well of information by clicking from one link to another to get to what we want. “Click bait” is that enticing link of an article whose headline you will read and tempt you to click it, and in most cases of course without telling you what the article is actually about. Now that we have the definition out of the way, lets dive into the deep end.  In most cases sites would prefer you read their content than that of their competition, so for the same story or article, you would find two different headlines mostly designed to entice readers to click and read. And that’s where the art of click baiting comes in. He who designs the best gripping headline takes all the clicks. We have all been victims of tempting headlines of the trillions of stories we find online or on social media. But should social media platforms crack down on click bait articles?

Bloggers and News editors will always craft their headlines to maximize on the number of clicks to their sites hence driving more traffic to them in return.  The most pesky types of click baits I have come across are links that take you a totally different story, or a virus whose link is in the form of a video especially in the form of adult video content (now that’s a great click magnet). It’s no surprise that this type of content has become staggeringly successful on the internet and social media lately since users can’t resist the temptation but click to find out what the article is actually about. I have to admit also do it at times and write a click bait headline, but I always try to make sure it sticks to the content in the article. The most obvious click bait titles often include phrases like “You won’t believe what happens next!” , “Five ways to boast your manhood“, “This what these desperate housewives have resorted to?“,”How could this girl do this? “and “What this guy does is amazing!” of course the more sexual content you throw into the headline the more clicks it will get. (Yes its human nature apparently). Try the poll below if want to know what I mean. One will have to make a choice between knowing more about the President’s mysterious mistress or the current spread of the Ebola virus. The one you choose first is a better click baited post; of course depending on your interests.


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Some search engines and social media sites are determined to crack down to reduce this type of content clicking games by tweaking their algorithms, for example Facebook is trying to pioneer this. Last week the social media giant published this statement detailing how they will crack down on such clicks bait articles that people post.

[signoff predefined=”Movie Review Signoff” icon=”icon-globe”] One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click-through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them. Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.[/signoff]

mouse baitThe aim of a click bait story is to get users to click the link, resulting in more people seeing that story and the trend continues but in most cases most users who click leave unsatiated. According to Facebook’s survey, 80% of users preferred links with headlines that assisted them comprehend what an article was actually about.

So basically if Facebook sees that an article with several clicks is resulting in low time away and few shares with their friends, it will distribute that article less.So this is how the social media giant wants to fight Click baits. Twitter on the other hand will also find it hard to implement a similar strategy since you find a lot to trash stories re-tweeted on a per second basis. Google is known for pulling down videos that don’t meet the Terms and Conditions set for their site.

Do find yourself “click baited” often, and do you think social media platforms should crack down on them?