Sunday, December 25, 2016

News organizations finally talk about eliminating lying clickbait

With news media up in arms over fake news stories circulating on social media, some publishers are finally starting to discuss the problem of lying clickbait.
Lying clickbait is my term for sponsored articles that are promoted with false or misleading photos.
Last month, New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd suggested that the Times is part of the fake news problem as long as it carries deceptive sponsored articles online. (See the Nov. 23, 2016, article titled “Condemning ‘Fake News,’ but Running Fake-News Ads.”)
Media pundit Jeff Jarvis also noted that publishers “should consider more carefully the consequences of promoting content – and sharing in revenue –   from dubious sources distributed by the likes of Taboola and Outbrain.” (See his Nov. 18 blog post titled “A Call for Cooperation Against Fake News.”
The problem of lying clickbait has been rampant for some time now. Unscrupulous content promotion services will use a headscratcher of a photo to get people to click on their sponsored weblinks.
For instance, decades-old photos of sexy French actress Brigitte Bardot have been used to promote articles on supposedly declassified photos, terrifying mob photos and other things.

Photos: Actress Brigitte Bardot (top) and sample of lying clickbait from Taboola.

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