Nobody likes it, and yet it’s strangely irresistible. You kind of hate yourself after indulging in it, the Internet equivalent of being force-fed melted Jolly Ranchers by the spoonful. But as much as clickbait’s trickster headlines inspire self-loathing, it hardly compares to the amount of ill-will it engenders toward traffic-hungry, trigger-happy media outlets that think firing off lots of popcorny articles, shotgun-style, will net them a few extra ad impressions.
Well, Facebook users are fed up with clickbait headlines, and they’re fighting back with one of the only tools at their disposal: the like button.
For a while now, users have told Facebook in surveys they prefer headlines that spell out what’s contained in the story. That doesn’t stop them from clicking on stories that leave the news out of the title, though — and that's reflected in the data Facebook gathers on its users, said Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management.
"If you measure just clicks, no, they'll click more on things where you're actually withholding things in the title," he said. "But they'll spend less time actually reading it once they click."
That makes some amount of sense. But Mosseri continued: "Another pattern we see is that they'll like a story, click on it, and come back immediately because they feel deceived and un-like it. We do see that reflected in behavior."