What Facebook is doing to deceptive newsfeed clickbait will change your life

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Facebook is weeding out some deceptive clickbait practices:

When people click on an image in their News Feed featuring a play button, they expect a video to start playing. Spammers often use fake play buttons to trick people into clicking links to low quality websites.

Similarly, these deceptive spammers also use static images disguised as videos to trick people into clicking on a low quality experience. To limit this, during the coming weeks we will begin demoting stories that feature fake video play buttons and static images disguised as videos in News Feed.

It’s a useful rule of thumb that any deceptive practice used to generate traffic will – howevre much traffic it generates intially – eventually fail, and often lead top penalties. It was true of Google and some forms of SEO, and it’s equally true of the Facebook newsfeed.

One interesting thing: Next Web notes that Facebook is doing this in an interesting way:

It’s worth nothing this is the first time we’ve seen Facebook go beyond the usual text filters for detecting clickbait – now it seems to be using AI to actually analyze the visual content itself.

AI-based analysis of visual content is going to be a significnat trend in the next few years.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.