Clickbait refers to a certain kind of web content advertisement that is designed to entice its readers into clicking an accompanying link. Typically, it is spread on social media in the form of short teaser messages that may read like the following examples:
- A Man Falls Down And Cries For Help Twice. The Second Time, My Jaw Drops
- 9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact
- Here’s What Actually Reduces Gun Violence
When reading such and similar messages, many get the distinct impression that something is odd about them; something unnamed is referred to, some emotional reaction is promised, some lack of knowledge is ascribed, some authority is claimed. Content publishers of all kinds discovered clickbait as an effective tool to draw attention to their websites. The level of attention captured by a website determines the prize of displaying ads there, whereas attention is measured in terms of unique page impressions, usually caused by clicking on a link that points to a given page (often abbreviated as “clicks”). Therefore, a clickbait’s target link alongside its teaser message usually redirects to the sender’s website if the reader is afar, or else to another page on the same site. The content found at the linked page often encourages the reader to share it, suggesting clickbait for a default message and thus spreading it virally. Clickbait on social media has been on the rise in recent years, and even some news publishers have adopted this technique. These developments have caused general concern among many outspoken bloggers, since clickbait threatens to clog up social media channels, and since it violates journalistic codes of ethics.
The first workshop on clickbait detection (program) took place on November 27, 2017 at the Digital Bauhaus Lab of the Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar, Germany. The Clickbait Challenge Shared Task that was hosted as part of the workshop is still open for participation.