Fanbait is content that exists purely to appeal to, excite or anger a particular fanbase of a pop-culture phenomenon. Popular fanbases that often get targeted by fanbait are fans of the Twilight, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek or other similar series. Fanbaiting is different from trolling in that it isn’t always negative, it’s also different from linkbait in that it’s a more nuanced and focused form of that practice.
Some say “fan-baiting” is increasingly designed to create fake controversy with the intent of getting free publicity and widespread discussion on social media:
Dr. Thala Siren on Twitter: ““Fan-baiting” is a form of marketing used by producers, film studios, and actors, with the intent of exciting artificial controversy, garnering publicity, and explaining away the negative reviews of a new and often highly anticipated production. 1/10” / Twitter
Just ran across this term today. Proponents of “fan baiting” say that studios are intentionally working to create controversy surrounding new movies by introducing features that lead to media coverage and then fans, often angered, creating a groundswell of posts on social media. Sort of the old view that all publicity is good publicity.
I have no expertise in movies or movie marketing and have no idea if this is a real thing or not. But there are certainly many saying this is a real thing now.