Facebook to demote content with fake video play buttons

Facebook to demote content with fake video play buttons
Videos with static images are also in the social network's crosshairs as part of its crackdown on video clickbait

MANILA, Philippines – Facebook announced on its blog on Friday, August 18,  that it is demoting video clickbait on people’s feeds.

Facebook specified two forms of video clickbait that it’s seeking to bury: content that show fake video play buttons and videos that only show a static image when played. Like traditional clickbait, these two mislead the user into clicking, believing they’re accessing a certain kind of content but being served another. 

In the case of fake video play buttons, users are whisked away to an external link instead of getting to watch the video on Facebook as a user would expect. A static-image-as-video is an image disguised as a video. It plays when a user clicks on it, but doesn’t actually show moving images.  

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook, and so do we. When people click on an image in their News Feed featuring a play button, they expect a video to start playing. Spammers often use fake play buttons to trick people into clicking links to low quality websites,” said Facebook engineers Baraa Hamodi, Zahir Bokhari, and Yun Zhang. 

“Publishers that rely on these intentionally deceptive practices should expect the distribution of those clickbait stories to markedly decrease,” the engineers warned. Rappler.com

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