Clickbait Just Caught a Major Snag on Social Media

by | Aug 9, 2016


Apartment marketers who fish for pageviews with clickbait can soon expect a lighter catch.

According to a Thursday announcement from Facebook, the social network plans to display clickbait headlines less frequently in users’ News Feeds.

The update represents yet another move in Facebook’s larger strategy to improve the News Feed user experience. In late June, a similar announcement revealed business page content would appear less frequently in News Feed as well, with user experience cited as a driving factor for the change.

“One of our News Feed values is to have authentic communication on our platform,” wrote Facebook Research Scientist Alex Peysakhovich and Facebook U/X Researcher Kristin Hendrix in the Thursday announcement.

“People have told us they like seeing authentic stories the most. That’s why we work hard to understand what type of stories and posts people consider genuine, so we can show more of them in News Feed. We also work to understand what kinds of stories people find misleading and spammy to help make sure people see those less. We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles.”

While Facebook did not reveal too many details about how it defines clickbait, the company did say the update would most affect titles that withhold information or create misleading expectations. Examples of titles that violate these rules include:

  1. Apartment Decorators Hate This Man…The Reason Why Will Shock You!
  2. 27 Facts Every Renter Needs to Know (#11 Blew Our Minds)
  3. Here’s Why Millennials Actually HATE Walkable Cities

The first two examples clearly withhold information, while the third example creates misleading expectations.

How Will the Clickbait Crackdown Affect Social Media Marketing for Apartments?

The clickbait crackdown will not hurt your social media strategy unless you allow it. Facebook says the update will only affect pages that post or share clickbait titles. It has also said that the penalties will drop as soon as the page ceases to promote such content.

The bottom line? If you want to avoid a snag in engagement, simply don’t post or share anything that seems like clickbait!