Like death and taxes one thing will always be a certainty – people hate clickbait.

It’s ironic then that one of the platforms that led to the rise of the headline so sensational you had to click it has had enough of the stuff.

That platform is Facebook and it has revealed its plan to deal with the scourge of fake news, clickbait and outbound links to websites that make The Most Amazing Website On The Internet look tame and understated for all the ads they serve.

“Starting today, we’re rolling out an update so people see fewer posts and ads in News Feed that link to these low-quality web page experiences. Similar to the work we’re already doing to stop misinformation, this update will help reduce the economic incentives of financially-motivated spammers,” said the firm.

Now what is rather interesting about this update is that appears as if Facebook will enforce its advertising policies with a bit more vigour. While we hesitate to applaud Facebook it is refreshing to see that its interested in creating a better experience more than it is in chasing a few extra dollars in ad revenue.

“If we determine a post might link to these types of low-quality web pages, it may show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad,” said Facebook explaining how it will deal with these sorts of posts.

Facebook has said that some pages and publishers may see a slight increase in traffic over the coming months as a result of punishing those that aren’t towing the line.

How to not get punished by Facebook

The firm has also outlined what webmasters should avoid including in their websites to insure that adverts and posts with outbound links aren’t punished.

Websites shouldn’t contain a disproportionate volume of ads relative to the content. Websites containing sexually suggestive or shocking content will also be punished.

Perhaps you don’t want to see these images in ads but in a news story on a website that isn’t Facebook – the images could be more contextual.

In terms of advertising Facebook has said that websites with pop-up ads that disrupt the user experience as well as those with malicious or deceptive ads will be punished as well.

Of course we expect there to be a bit of backlashing surrounding this as Facebook is quite literally trying to shape the web according to its policies.

This news puts us into a catch-22 postition. We hate clickbait on our Facebook feeds and we’d love to see less misleading advertising but we also don’t want Facebook to dictate how we should run our website.

We want to hear from you though, do you think this a good idea from Facebook or do you think its overreaching? Let us know in the comments.

 

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.