Quantifying the Clickbait and Linkbait in BuzzFeed Article Titles

Clickbait is one of the worst creations of the 21st century, designed specifically to invoke just enough curiosity to get people to click on them. This great piece, however, analyzes the most successful and widespread of them. I’ve since set up a range of regex filters that apply universally across all my RSS news feeds (around 600) that removes the most egregious clickbait articles and listicles. For example, any title which contains ‘you won’t believe’, or ‘the X most/things/worst/best’, or ‘things you did/didn’t’, and so on – pay attention to the ‘trigrams’ section in the article. Despite not being subscribed to low-quality clickbait sites, even some of my favorite sites like Wired and others are resorting to occasional clickbait. But with the filters, far better content.

“Does clickbait work? Of course it does. Granted, there has been a lot of disenchantment with the rise of clickbait; that’s why the parody Twitter account@SavedYouAClick was created and hit 182K followers in months. It’s also the reason why Facebook will now be punishing clickbait and making them less public in a user’s news feed, which will definitely hurt BuzzFeed. That’s likely one of the reasons why they are pivoting to quizzes and video content instead.”

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