Facebook, the social-media giant that defines nearly half of our lives and self-identity, has gone out to reprimand sites, big and small, that use click-bait articles to entice visitors to their homepages. It will aim to accomplish this by targeting individual posts and not just the overall website.
This is big. Nearly 30 percent of internet usage throughout the world is through the social media giant or one of it’s services. Facebook’s tough new stance will spell trouble for marketers who have made millions (literally) enticing people to their websites through headlines such as ‘Things You Wish You Didn’t Know About Jennifer Lopez’s behind’ or ‘Kareena Kapoor doesn’t want you to know this about her love life – you know – the articles you spend half of your life reading through.
This move by Facebook has two possible reasons behind it. First, the accusations thrown against the social media platform after the 2016 US Elections, in which ‘fake news’ supposedly played a major role in tilting people towards the Don. Secondly, people are just sick of misleading headlines and titles, period.
We jot down a few reasons why we feel click-bait definitely needs to go out.
You learn absolutely nothing and waste a lot of time.
Let’s face it. You really aren’t going to learn much by reading “She did this to her husband and this was his reaction when he woke up”. Infact, if anything, it is going to waste a good five minutes and precious mind energy that could have been better utilized in doing something productive. Studies and news reports have shown how you can literally spend half a day clicking around on a click-bait site and come out of with nothing substantial. It’s like a relationship with a lot of bad sex and no emotions: you don’t want to be there despite your tendency to land up there again and again.
It really is fake news in most cases.
A lot of click bait is fake news: no, Melania Trump is probably not a man and the BJP is not attempting to exterminate minorities. In fact, even when it’s not aiming to present you with fake news and just has a really enticing headline, you tend to see through the lines and tell yourself that it’s nothing more than unclassified crap.
Click bait is downright unethical
You know those articles about how eating ginger and sticking a carrot up your behind can kill cancer? Well, chances are it probably won’t kill cancer. The sole purpose of such articles is to generate revenue: you go to their site and click on a related advertisement and the money flows into their pocket.
Not only is the fabrication of such content for a few bucks outright unethical, it can potentially risk human lives, relationships and beliefs. As all socially responsible thinkers know, you do not want to go into that territory if you don’t what you are talking about and can’t back it up with empirical evidence. Oh yes, peer-reviewed scientifically reviewed empirical evidence.