Ticket #5382 (new)

Opened 6 weeks ago

BONUS: $90 AMERICAN EXPRESS Gift Card Opportunity

Reported by: "American Express Shopper Feedback" <AmericanExpressShopperFeedback@…> Owned by:
Priority: normal Milestone: 2.11
Component: none Version: 3.8.0
Severity: medium Keywords:
Cc: Language:
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BONUS: $90 AMERICAN EXPRESS Gift Card Opportunity



A defining characteristic of clickbait is misrepresentation in the enticement presented to the user to manipulate them to click onto a link. While there is no universally agreed-upon definition of clickbait, Merriam-Webster defines clickbait as "something designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest." Dictionary.com states that clickbait is "a sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another web page."

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith states that his publication doesn't do clickbait, using a strict definition of clickbait as a headline that is dishonest about the content of the article. Smith notes that Buzzfeed headlines such as "A 5-Year-Old Girl Raised Enough Money To Take Her Father Who Has Terminal Cancer To Disney World" deliver exactly what the headline promises. The fact that the headline is written to be eye-catching is irrelevant in Smith's view since the headline accurately describes the article.

Facebook, while trying to reduce the amount of clickbait shown to users, defined the term as a headline that encourages users to click, but doesn't tell them what they will see. However, this definition excludes a lot of content that is generally regarded as clickbait.

A more commonly used definition is a headline that intentionally over-promises and under-delivers. The articles associated with such headlines often are unoriginal, and either merely restate the headline, or copies content from a more genuine news source.

The term clickbait is sometimes used for any article that is unflattering to a person. In such cases, the article is not actually clickbait by any legitimate definition of the term.

From a historical perspective, the techniques employed by clickbait authors can be considered derivative of yellow journalism, which presented little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead used eye-catching headlines that included exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. One cause of such sensational stories is the controversial practice called checkbook journalism, where news reporters pay sources for their information without verifying its truth. In the U.S. it is generally considered an unethical practice, as it often turns celebrities and politicians into lucrative targets of unproven allegations. According to Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, "this thriving tabloid culture has erased the old definitions of news by including tawdry and sensational stories about celebrities for the sake of profit."

Clickbait is primarily used to drive page views on websites, whether for their own purposes or to increase online advertising revenue. It can also be used for phishing attacks for the purpose of spreading malicious files or stealing user information. The attack occurs once the user opens the link provided to learn more. Clickbait has also been used for political ends and has been blamed for the rise of post-truth politics. Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief at The Guardian wrote that "chasing down cheap clicks at the expense of accuracy and veracity" undermined the value of journalism and truth. Emotional subjects with stark headlines are widely shared and clicked, which resulted in what Slate described as an "aggregation of outrage" and a proliferation of websites across the political spectrum – including Breitbart News, Huffington Post, Salon, Townhall and the Gawker Media blogs – which profited by producing shareable short-form pieces offe

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