First and foremost, what is clickbait? According to the Urban Dictionary, clickbait is defined as:
“An eye catching link on a website which encourages people to read on. It is often paid for by the advertiser (“paid” click bait) or generates income based on the number of clicks.”
The Washington Post released an article titles “What is ‘click bait’ and why Facebook wants to display less of it” in 2014. The article described the headlines of click bait being “teasers” and most often, they were misleading.
“According to a survey by Facebook that asked users what type of content they preferred to see in their news feeds, 80 percent of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.”
Clickbait is affecting more than just Facebook, it is all over the internet and people fall for it all the time.
A Poynter article written by Andrew Beaujon identified that clickbait really is just a disappointing way to put people down. He included a quote from Jake Beckman which says that clickbait articles are so awful because, “readers are being treated as stupid.”
At the end of this article, Beaujon and Nilay Patel, the acting managing editor for Vox, identifies one site that is doing a pretty good job at staying true to their headlines and that is Buzzfeed.
Patel said, “BuzzFeed headlines pay off particularly well because they actually make fairly small promises and then overdeliver. It’s validating, which is maybe the most valuable payoff of them all.”
Clickbait is generally bad, but being conscious of your decisions online can help you avoid falling into the trap.