Sick of “click-bait” stories but too curious to resist their intriguingly vague headlines? Well, your jaw will drop when you read the rest of this article.

Facebook announced changes Monday that aim to rid news feeds of stories that have seductive headlines but little actual content. For example, links that say “You’ll never believe which two celebrities got into a fight” might attract attention, but according to Facebook’s researchers, people prefer informative descriptions of the content they’re going to click.

“When we asked people in an initial survey what type of content they preferred to see in their news feeds, 80 per cent of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through,” wrote a Facebook research scientist and a product specialist in a newsroom post.

According to the post, users should see a drop in the number of click-bait stories they see as Facebook begins to give higher priority to stories people are actually interested in.

What makes click-bait?

Facebook says its old algorithm is susceptible to click-bait stories drowning out content people care about over time. To determine which stories people actually want to see, Facebook clocks how long users spend reading articles on external website.

If a user clicks a link but immediately heads back to Facebook, they probably weren’t interested in the content – a potential indication of the user being lured to a website by a misleading headline. The new update will begin taking into account whether people stay off-site long enough to consume the content they were promised.

Another strategy Facebook is using to fend off overly sensationalized headlines is to look at the number of people who “like” or comment on the story compared to the number who just click to view the story. Again, if user engagement is low, Facebook says the post shouldn’t appear as often even if the story is getting clicks.

The changing face of Facebook

Along with addressing click-bait, Facebook is changing the way it prioritizes links. Their researchers say people prefer clicking stories that show a headline and a picture rather than just a web address in a status update, and have updated what users will see accordingly. Though this change will be less noticeable, it’s one of many the company has made to their social media platform this year.

In July, Facebook introduced a feature to save content. If a busy user finds an interesting article amid the sea of click-bait headlines, they can now bookmark it to read later.

And in April, Facebook made an effort to reduce “like-baiting” stories – content that asks users to “like,” “share,” or “comment” on a story in order to show support, and which also often implies a negative consequence for ignoring the post. The company said they found those stories to be 15 per cent less relevant than other stories with a similar amount of engagement.

Facebook also added a “trending” section to the homepage in January which let people see what stories were popular among users across the globe.