Internet ramblings

Pseudoscience and Clickbait

There are a great number of truly fabulous blogs and websites out there. A wealth of information on scientific issues and, alarmingly, more than a few that insist on pushing pseudoscience to the ill-informed.

My pet hate is “clickbait“, the irritating habit that some website “authors” (and I use that term loosely) employ to entice people to view their webpages. I get even more annoyed when the content is dressed to look like a useful source of scientific information. I sometimes wonder if I have already become the GOW (Grumpy Old Woman) that my husband tells me is my destiny.

A prime example of this unpalatable behaviour is the sorry state of my once favourite website and Facebook page, IFLS. I F***ing Love Science was creaelise-on-runaway-hit-redacted-2ted initially as a Facebook page in 2012, by Elise Andrews, who was still at university at the time. What began as a “fun hobby”, has now developed into an often dubiously-researched website with significant associated revenue making outlets. There are now many more contributing authors compared to the few admin staff in its infancy and, sigh, clickbait is now rife. As of October 2016, the FB page has more than 25million “likes”. That’s a LOT of people that the admin can tempt to view articles, and thereby be subjected to advertising and costly merchandise.

Examples from the IFLS website include:

The GOW inside of me tells me that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter, and that the main purpose of IFLS remains the same-to bring science into the public eye. Maybe I should embrace the idea of sharing science with the masses, and clickbait is clearly the way to do it… Or perhaps I’m just rather snobby at heart, and want to keep “proper” science accessible to only to those who might actually understand it.


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