Click Bait Journalism – History, Development, Strengths and Weaknesses

Click bait journalism is one of the things that are common in cyberspace today. Click bait journalism is actually one way to attract readers, but mostly in the wrong way. They put an interesting title, but when the title is clicked, it is other news that appears on the screen.


According to Wikipedia, clickbait is a pejorative term that refers to web content intended to generate online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, by relying on sensational headlines or eye-catching thumbnails to invite click-throughs (clicks) -through) and encourage the continuation of these materials through online social networks.

Click feed journalism always uses catchy titles and makes people curious so people will enter the clicked page. Click bait journalism is now even more rampant. Various headlines that are so interesting always make a lot of people fooled.

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A member of the Press Council, Imam Wahyudi said, “In the midst of the massive digital development, especially in social media, mass media are fighting to maintain its existence. However, sometimes this way of survival actually threatens journalism, especially with the working principle of click bait that promotes sensation. ”


Click bait journalism was first discovered in the United States. Journalism that contains more deceptive news emerged due to intense competition in the world of journalists at that time.

In 1888, the American New York World  newspaper appeared “Yellow Kid Cartoon” which parodyed a boy dressed in a yellow robe, which had a series of words written on his body while visiting his girlfriend. “Words” on the yellow boy’s clothes slowly began to change as the girl approached the door to greet him, starting from the first want to give a surprise, excited, then when in front of her stood Liz – the girl -, the expression the yellow boy changes completely then leaves.

Attracting the attention of readers, the cartoon series ” Yellow Kid ” was then continued by New York World  owner  Joseph Pulitzer, who was trying desperately to overcome his rivalry with the  New York Journal . It was this moment that in the history of the modern news media was mentioned as the forerunner to the term  Yellow Journalism  or what is known in Indonesia as the  yellow newspaper.

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At that time, there was also a cartoon titled “T he Evil Spirits of the Modern Day Press ,” which illustrates how many ‘demons’ in the world of journalists ranging from criminal, political, scandalous, other news that are very eye-catching. But in reality, all these ‘demons’ only cast evil.


Click bait journalism that is endemic in the United States also turns out to have reached Indonesia. Even the development of click bait journalism is actually growing and expanding to the present. The beginning of the development of click bait journalism in Indonesia is inseparable from the start of the entry and widespread recognition of the internet by the Indonesian people.

Then how did this click bait journalism develop in Indonesia? Just like in America, click bait journalism in Indonesia is developing due to the interests of certain parties. By using an interesting title, even though the contents of the news presented are not appropriate, but at least the company will get a higher income from traffic every day. This is what will cause the emergence of fake journalists who deliberately use click bait journalism to attract visitors.


Click bait journalism has advantages that make many people more diligent in creating content with click bait like this. One of the advantages of click bait journalism is being able to make a lot of money in just a short time.

Just imagine, an article consisting of only 300 words can get visitor traffic to hundreds in just a matter of hours. The more visitors to the page, of course, the more income they get. This economic factor is the main factor of the emergence of click bait journalism.

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In addition, click bait journalism is also broader in scope compared to journalism in other media such as print media. The power of the internet that is able to cross space limits makes click bait journalism visible to many eyes from all corners of the globe.


Despite making a lot of money, in reality click bait journalism is the lowest level of journalism. Click bait journalism actually becomes a streak in journalism.

How not, almost all click bait journalism is writing that violates journalistic code of ethics. One of them is a violation of article 1 journalistic code of ethics which states that Indonesian journalists are independent, produce accurate, balanced and bad-faith news.  Likewise, the journalistic code of ethics in article 4 reads that Indonesian journalists do not make false, slanderous, sadistic and obscene news. 

The contents of the click bait journalism which spread so many false news is what makes the reader upset and are reluctant to read articles in the media. This can lead to bankruptcy of the company because if more and more bait is clicked stocked, the community will be more reluctant to read the news in the media again.


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