Facebook to Prioritize Trusted, Quality News

Randall Padilla
January 20, 2018

The change to the Facebook news feed comes as the online giant seeks to address charges that it has failed - along with Google and Twitter - to prevent the spread of bogus news, most strikingly ahead of the 2016 United States election.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said Friday (Jan. 19) that starting next, week the social media site will start prioritizing news sites. "This data will help to inform ranking in News Feed".

Facebook won't be assessing the trustworthiness of news outlets itself.

Facebook said earlier this month it would be shifting its News Feed algorithms to prioritize The News Feed is currently created to prioritize relevant content from friends and family, but now will highlight content that people are likely to regardless if it comes from a peer or a company. More specifically, it will come from "trusted" media sources that have been vetted by Facebook's community of users.

But there are already concerns that this could prioritise partisan sources of information. Trump appropriated the term soon after by using it on his critics in the media, but Facebook has remained under scrutiny for how users can be exposed to news and news-related content, a portion of which was apparently produced with help from Russians trying to influence the election.

In short: "Trustworthy" is not the same as "accurate".

As a result of the changes, people can expect the level of news in the News Feed to drop from the current 5 percent to 4 percent, Zuckerberg said.

Meanwhile, Facebook - and the broader tech industry - has come under a barrage of criticism over its impact on society, from its role in spreading Russian propaganda and misinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to its effects on the mental health of children. "T$3 o make sure the news you see, while less overall, is high quality", he said, "I've asked our product teams to make sure we prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local".

"We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective", Zuckerberg wrote. What we don't know is how the proposed system to identify trusted news sources will really work.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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