Ugh, clickbait. If there’s one thing we hate about the internet, it’s how some people trick us into clicking on links with ambiguous headlines. “You won’t believe how amazing this thing is (and it’s so awesome it’ll blow your mind)!” No. Just tell us what the article’s about!
Fortunately, the Stop Clickbait team is here to help. They are the superheroes that we need (but don’t deserve)! Founded in 2016 by Daniel Tuttle, the main mission of this project is to eradicate clickbait by spoiling it with a few words.
The Stop Clickbait team reads through clickbaity articles and posts a summary for them, so we don’t have to waste our valuable time looking for needles (answers) in haystacks (padded articles with little substance).
"Since last year, we’ve begun to send potatoes to some of clickbait’s worst offenders," the Stop Clickbait team told Bored Panda. "People can now go to our website and select a clickbaiter they want to send a potato to in the mail. We’ll then write their name on the potato, take a picture of it, and then send the person its tracking number. We’ve already gotten some returned back to us so I hope they’re getting just as frustrated as we are reading their clickbait articles!" Read on for the rest of the interview!
Stop Clickbait told us that they continue to grow "everyday in countries around the world."
"This is really a movement centered around our users and we couldn’t do it without them. I think people fall so bad for clickbait because it takes advantage of inherent curiosity. If we get baited hard, a simple click can solve that itch, yet we never seem to learn it’s not worth it in the end," they explained.
As for what journalists ought to do, well, it's simple: "It’s better to build relationships with your users based on trust and integrity. Maybe clickbait will get you traffic in the short term, but in the long term, it is not sustainable. Do what’s not only best for your users, but also your organization in the long term."
According to Stop Clickbait, their posts have been viewed over 400 million times. And their team continues to grow, with over 100 volunteers pitching in to, well, stop clickbait. They do what it says on the tin. It would be pretty ironic if they didn’t do what their name suggests.
The project already has over 211k followers on Facebook and 39k fans on Instagram. They have some awesome stuff, so be sure to check out their website and social media accounts.
The project hopes to influence journalists and editors around the world and to help guide them towards more informative, clear, and honest headlines. Very few readers enjoy being yanked around with ambiguous headlines. And most journalists would love to have the freedom to use honest headlines, without editorial oversight due to financial pressure.
In an earlier interview with Bored Panda, Stop Clickbait founder Tuttle told us that he created it as a “fun little side project.”
“I am an advertising major, so, over the years, I've become very cynical when it comes to false advertising,” he told us what inspired him to create the project. “I am quite fascinated by the spread of online ads and started to think it would be not only hilarious but useful for many to go against the economy of the Internet; ad revenue.”
He continued: “Within a few days, it blew up with viral posts across social media channels and since then there have been vast amounts of support coming from all over the world. Since then, we have expanded into 10 different pages to specialize in different categories of clickbait as well as in 12 different countries around the world."
Tuttle is optimistic about the future. In his opinion, the internet could be clickbait-free. As long as we handle things the right way, of course. “Social media companies need to provide tools to content producers to incentivize them to keep their content on their social media page.”
“One way they can do this is to provide options to generate revenue by posting on social media like Facebook or Twitter. Right now there are no ways to make money directly through social media thus content providers are needing to redirect their traffic somewhere where they can be more profitable like their website," he pointed out to Bored Panda.
"Another thing we fight for is to promote media literacy. By being able to read a headline and tell the difference between a journalist with integrity or simply someone using sensationalism to generate a click, the user can make an educated decision on who to support."
Tuttle added that they are “the little people joining together to fight against the fake news, and we're having an impact. It's time to fight against the economy of the Internet; it's all in the name, it's time to stop clickbait." That’s the spirit! With a sunny outlook like that, it’s not hard to believe that we can live in a world where internet journalism is transparent and to-the-point.