Donald Trump at SAS?

Wait what?

Donald Trump?!

SAS?!

Oh, how another article has lured you in.

ClickBait.

We see it everywhere, all the time. It’s what YouTubers use to get us to watch their videos, and what some news networks use to get us to read their articles. But before you leave this article in anger –  just hear me out, I’m on your side.

When we click on a link, we expect to read about what’s advertised in the title. Even if it’s something as general as “You Will Never Believe What Kylie Jenner Posted on Her Instagram,” we expect to be taken to an article filled with juicy gossip and the surprising photo advertised in the headline. But as we all know, nine times out of ten, we are taken to a photo we wouldn’t have given a second look otherwise and we feel, above all else, annoyed. Shouldn’t we get the information we were promised in the headline?

upworthy-51
Upworthy using clickbait in article title

As time goes on we get used to this type of media deception, and we learn to avoid certain articles knowing that they will waste our time. We accept it, but should we? We trust these sources and in return they try to lure us in as though we are children in a candy store.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 2.42.31 pm
Buzzfeed using clickbait in title, article by Julie Gerstein

I understand that journalists want viewers to read their articles, and a witty title can really help get those extra hundred views. But when does clickbait become an ethical breach? When do YouTubers and journalists take it way too far?

“Storytime: I Was Almost Raped/ Kidnapped!”

This is where YouTubers cross the ethical line. “Storytimes” are videos by content creators who share interesting stories and moments from their lives. When titles use serious issues as ways to get more views, it’s not just annoying anymore, it’s plain offensive and unethical. YouTubers have no problem crossing it. YouTuber “AsiaParisJapan” discusses this in her storytime video, “Lets Talk| Getting Kidnapped & Sold.” She said, “The reason why it bothers me so much is because I was kidnapped, I was actually kidnapped. I was 12 years old and I was kidnapped and sold.”

With the increase of YouTubers creating storytime videos, I can’t help but agree. We have YouTubers like Gigi Gorgeous, who titled her video “MY DOG WAS RAPED” with a thumbnail of her fake crying and her dog with an emoji tear. Many of Gigi’s fans were upset with her use of the word “rape.”

Although some may argue that clickbait is beneficial in attracting an audience who would otherwise not read the article, it really isn’t. Clickbait has turned into a way for YouTubers and other online news sites to make profit from increasing views by misleading viewers. It has also lead to viewers skipping over important articles, assuming the title is fake and is being used  to lure them in.

As you have probably already guessed, Donald Trump is not coming to SAS, but I used clickbait to make a point. It is time to put an end to this deceitful practice. Not only is it annoying to readers/viewers, but it is leading to mistrust from viewers/readers and will eventually lead to the end of honest journalism if it’s not stopped now.

Author: Sasha Quinlan

Sasha Quinlan is Senior and one of the co-editors of The Eye. This is her third year reporting on The Eye. Having attended SAS for the past 15 years, she considers Singapore home. Some of her hobbies include binge watching "Clueless", writing, cheering, and eating sweet potatoes. She can be contacted at quinlan18229@sas.edu.sg.

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