Clickbait Watch #13 🖱

Netflix

Netflix

A reminder

Clickbait stories are meant to generate online clicks for the sole purpose of driving more traffic and hence generate more $$$ for an online publisher. This often means loud, extreme language used in the titles of stories. I guess not many people click on calm titles. 🤷

So what?

Clickbait leads to a rise in the volume and anxiety of your online news experience, or even misleading reporting. Each week we'll look at the most egregious clickbait titles, and after analyzing them, give them a less extreme title based on the actual information in the article.


CLICKBAIT #2:

Buzzfeed: I just found this out about Miley Cyrus' "Black Mirror" episode and I feel really dumb

News Bling’s Suggestion: Miley’s Cyrus Song in “Black Mirror” episode is a cover of a Nine Inch Nails Song

Problem with title:  What did you find out? Why do you feel dumb? Yeah, it’s effective for clicks, but if everyone used this title technique, then we wouldn’t know what news stories were about until we clicked on them, and that would be a big waste of time. This kind of writing used to be considered bad journalism, a technique known as “burying the lead.” Now, it’s an all-too-common way to grab attention and viewership. Also, inserting the author himself into the story (“I Feel Really Dumb”) is weird when it’s not a clear opinion piece, which makes it feel like a text from a friend. That makes it feel like another manipulation.

CLICKBAIT #1:

Fox News:
Bridezilla demands guest cover tattoos and dye hair or be disinvited

News Bling’s Suggestion: When do wedding requests go too far?


Problem with title:  This was on the homepage of Fox News, near the top. It’s an Australian bride’s private request that her guests cover up certain personal aspects on the wedding day. An offended guest posted it to Facebook. Whether it’s a crazy request or not is kind of beside the point – this is not a top news story, especially given the fact that it was a private request for a private ceremony. Maybe this could be incorporated as an anecdotal into a lifestyle piece on appropriate vs. inappropriate requests, but beyond that, it feels like clickbait, especially given the word “bridezilla.”


Miley knew

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