It appears that Facebook is trying to solve the problem of “click bait.” That is an article that has a catch headline, but when you click on the link to read the article there is little to no substance. Here’s what the company is going to do:
One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.
Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.
This sounds good on the surface. But if you think about it, what Facebook is doing is analyzing what you are doing and reacting to it. Seeing as this company has had problems with privacy issues in the past, that may not end well for them. Another view of this is that this is about viral marketing and Facebook ad revenue. If they orevent people from seeing naturally shared articles, that will prevent things from naturally going viral. In order to get views marketers will need to pay for views. Who would they have to pay? Facebook.
Either way, to quote Han Solo “I have bad feeling about this.”