You’ll never guess what Facebook wants to do.
Two years ago, the social network said it was cracking down on clickbait, something it describes as “headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer.” So basically the kind of internet headlines that promise juicy gossip or never-before-seen photos, but then deliver something much less appealing (usually ads).
On Thursday, the company announced that it was going after clickbait content again, this time with a new software algorithm meant to detect the most frequent offenders.
In short, Facebook analyzed thousands of article headlines and categorized them in two buckets: Clickbait or not-clickbait. Using the clickbait headlines as a sample, it built software that looks for similar headline patterns from its millions of Pages, awarding each Page some kind of score to reflect how often they share a deceptive article.
Pages with a high score will soon be punished by Facebook’s News Feed algorithm — it’ll cut the Page’s organic reach “significantly,” explained Adam Mosseri, the Facebook VP who manages the News Feed product teams.
Mosseri says clickbait makes up just one or two percent of the total content in News Feed, but that it’s bad for business to have people deceived and disappointed by what they see in News Feed. This explains why Facebook is going out of its way to hunt down offending publishers.
Mosseri added that the move is part of a broader effort on Facebook’s part to keep News Feed’s quality as high as possible. This is why, he said, Facebook cut publisher reach back in June in favor of posts from your friends and family.
We don’t know who Facebook is targeting with its new clickbait crusade, which will start rolling out over the next few weeks. Most Pages won’t be impacted, Mosseri added at the end of our interview. But what he said next will stun you ....
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.