Replace clickbait headlines using this one weird trick

Replace clickbait headlines using this one weird trick

Are you sick and tired of clickbait headlines? That is to say, the sort of viral headlines you see especially on social media telling you about "one weird trick" or "will blow your mind?" So is Alison "Snipeyhead" Gianotto, and she's done something about it.

Gianotto created Downworthy, a plug-in for Google's Chrome web browser that parses such headlines and changes them. The source code is available. Versions for other web browsers including Firefox and Safari are in the works.

In Gianotto's own words:

These articles are, in general, not nearly as bad as their titles - but the titles have become SO overblown, they're meaningless and annoying. But people still click, so the trend continues. Consider this me doing my part to stop the insanity.

The plug-in searches headlines for hyperbolic words and replaces them with less extreme ones. "Shocked" turns into "vaguely surprised," for example. "Epic" becomes "mundane."

Gianotto was inspired to create Downworthy after an exchange on Twitter when she mused about the creation of just such a plug-in; then she decided to actually make it. She's standing on the shoulders of giants, too - she readily admits inspiration from other similar products like the "Cloud to Butt" extension and "Jailbreak the Patriarchy," both of which swap out words for fun.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

Replace clickbait headlines using this one weird trick

9 Comments

Who would need a tool for that? The only purpose of a headline is to get you to read the first sentence. If your mind rejects the headline for hyperbole, then it passed and you won't read the article.

So what's the point of outsourcing this decision to a tool?