You might be about to see a lot less clickbait on Facebook.
The social network is tweaking the algorithm it uses to determine what posts and articles to show you to take into account the “time spent viewing” an article as an indicator of quality.
It means that Facebook will (within limits) treat articles that users tend to spend more time on as preferable, and display them higher in the news feed — displacing lower-quality, misleading or clickbait-y content.
Facebook employees Moshe Blank and Jie Xu announced the change in a blog post. “The time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them,” they write. “This update to ranking will take into account how likely you are to click on an article and then spend time reading it.”
So an article that readers quickly exit out of because it doesn’t live up to its headline will be treated as worse than a longer feature that readers spend several minutes in before returning to the newsfeed. The latter will get a boost in the newsfeed, just like liking, commenting or sharing it would.