The latest Facebook News Feed tweak targets clickbait

Facebook Instant Articles
Facebook wants to show you articles you actually want to read.

Ever clicked through on an article to find it didn't match the headline at all? These so-called 'clickbait' articles are in the Facebook crosshairs, and the social network is introducing new features to keep them out of your News Feed.

"We're learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them," says Facebook's Moshe Blank in a blog post. This data is going to be used to help surface links you might actually want to read all the way to the end.

Loading time won't be counted, Facebook says, and the length of the article will be taken into account too - obviously you're going to spend more time reading something that's several pages in length. Facebook's new Instant Articles are included in the mix as well.

Testing, testing

You might not realise it but Facebook has swarms of users running tests all the time - marking what they like and what they don't like in the News Feed. It's called the Feed Quality Program and that feedback filters back to the algorithms used for the rest of us.

The latest tweak is an acknowledgement that liking, clicking, commenting on or sharing a post isn't necessarily an indication that it's all that good - how many times have you shared something on social media without properly reading it?

Facebook says the changes are rolling out now and will take a few weeks to reach everyone, and no doubt another News Feed change will come along just as soon as you've got used to this one.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.