Clickbait, Fake News and Publishers in Cyprus

Cypriots trust Radio more than Online News portals and this shouldn’t come as a surprise, with the amount of misinformation that is daily available, in our daily Social Media Feeds! (source: European Committee of the Regions)

Has anyone else noticed that many news Publishers have started heavily utilizing ClickBait while serving trash articles?

Let me clarify the terms first:

Clickbait is a form of false advertisement which uses hyperlink text or a thumbnail link that is designed to attract attention and entice users to follow that link and read, view or listen to the linked piece of online content, with a defining characteristic of being deceptive, typically sensationalized or misleading. (source: Wikipedia)

Online publishers are the media houses who own one or more internet news websites and use them to serve news for “free” with the exchange of ads served on these websites.

Let’s get back on the article now:

I have started noticing a growing problem with the online news landscape in Cyprus. Many online publishers are using false titles and descriptions, deceiving users who click to see an article, only to find out that the article is plain trash.

This situation has been present since the dawn of the internet, but this used to be a practice only non-trustworthy websites used to follow. I started noticing that many big publishers use the method of clickbait and false news now, just to drive traffic on their websites.

I am sure that you have been deceived at least once lately and that you felt frustrated for wasting your time on trash, right?  You also forget about it after a few minutes, only to be frustrated again the next time the same happens to you and the cycle repeats itself! 

When you get too angry about it, you post a comment on how shitty this article is and how bad this website is for serving trash content. You might even share the article just to make your point even more clear or send the article to your friends to express your frustration.

And what if I tell you that what you are doing right now is actually helping the clickbait practice? What if I tell you that by the actions that you take, you are actually helping false news spread all over the internet?

The reason why this happens is simple. When you post a comment or a reaction on a news article that is clickbait-y, Facebook (or any other social media) thinks that the article is useful and interesting and it actually pushes it to more people. This results in more clicks on the article and the cycle continues!

Are we helpless in the fight against low-quality journalism? No, we’re not! Social Media Networks have implemented a number of tools to help people against trashy content and fake news. Just take the following actions if you really want to help the situation get better next time:

  • Don’t comment, share or react to the news article post
  • If you want to express your dissatisfaction, contact the page directly through personal message instead
  • Report the article if it’s false, misleading or offensive
  • Un-follow and even block the news page that is serving trashy content
  • If you still feel frustrated about the situation, file a complaint via the COPA website, here

This is a way that you can actually make a difference when it comes to trashy articles and fake news in Cyprus!

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