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  • Meerelle Cruz

Meta Announces Crackdown On Watchbait

Videos that use watchbait techniques like withholding important information or sensationalizing content will have their circulation on Meta platforms limited. Meta also publishes standards for what constitutes watch bait.

Users have always been critical of watch bait practices in the video ecosystem, and they also undermine the general health of great content generated by creators and publishers. Meta has unveiled the capabilities of a system that detects watch bait to encourage correct information on the post or video material that sets acceptable expectations.

Meta explains that it employs a system that scans a video post for watch bait and, if found, restricts its circulation. Videos deemed to be "watch bait" may not be recommended to viewers and/or earn a low ranking. Posting watch bait regularly may diminish a Page's overall dissemination. Instead of using baity approaches, video makers and publishers should focus on generating distribution through innovative, honest behavior and high-quality videos in the future.

The company provides the following examples of videos that may see a reduction in distribution:

  • Withholding: removing critical information to create an arbitrary curiosity gap to compel viewers to watch the video to fully comprehend the context.

  • Exaggeration and strong language are used to persuade viewers to watch the video.

  • Creating false expectations or deceiving viewers about the video content or "payoff" is deceptive.

  • People expect a video's title, caption, text overlay, and thumbnail to accurately express what the video is about, which helps them determine whether or not they want to watch it. These titles, for example, exclude important information, making it difficult for viewers to figure out what the video is about and entice them to watch it to find out: His Reaction Was Priceless!! - THIS IS THE WORST WAY TO GET OUT OF BED!! — And then his girlfriend did it!!!

  • When you see a video with exaggerated, sensationalized titles or captions, you may feel disappointed or deceived. These titles, for example, sensationalize the video content and leave viewers who interact with the post feeling disappointed: Mind-blowing details in Kai's latest recipe! - Your bestie just sent your girlfriend a bizarre message! - A SURPRISE weather event could derail your preparations!!!

  • Misleading video posts in which the thumbnails, titles, descriptions, or other portions of the video imply something that does not occur in the video. Misleading videos often incorporate staged or scripted information that is portrayed as "reality" or "factual" and might make viewers wait an unrealistically lengthy time for a "payoff."

Meta explains how to improve your video distribution strategy in the following ways:

  • Use descriptive headers and captions to help viewers comprehend your video.

  • Use thumbnails that are actual video snippets, rather than manipulated or cropped images that don't appear in the published video.

  • To help fuel the actual dialogue, add your voice. This helps visitors pick how they want to spend their time with your piece and establishes originality and authenticity in your content.

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