Facebook to prioritize 'trustworthy' news based on user surveys

Javier Howell
January 20, 2018

The official Facebook announcement specifies, again, that "people will see less public content, including news, video and posts from brands".

Mosseri indicated that user rankings are still just one of the weights Facebook will use in ordering posts on the news feed, but it's unclear exactly how the site will avoid potential attempts to game the system, whether by use of bots, coordinated group reporting or other means. Eventually, the company will broaden its questionnaires in order to prioritize outlets that are "trustworthy, informative, and local".

"There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today", Zuckerberg wrote. "Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don't specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them", wrote Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg acknowledged that having Facebook itself or a third-party consultant to determine the publishers will introduce a layer of subjectivity.

Zuckerberg said on Friday he expects recently announced changes to shrink the amount of news on Facebook by 20 percent, to about 4 percent of all content from 5 percent now.

Facebook has been struggling to figure out its role as a dominant distributor of information in an era of fake news, foreign manipulation, and dwindling revenues for many media organizations.

Sounds fine. Except, can we really trust Facebook's own users to make that kind of determination?

Facebook wants its users to decide which media outlets they trust most.

The change will affect not only links posted by news outlets but also news stories that individuals share, Facebook said.

The social media platform announced that they are going to start separating it's news sources by how "trustworthy" its users think they are. "This data will help to inform ranking in News Feed".

He also announced that Facebook would shrink the content on its News Feed from 5 percent to 4 percent.

These aren't foolproof remedies for avoiding fake and biased sources on Facebook - but as Facebook continues to make changes to its News Feed, they may become increasingly important.

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