Facebook to prioritize 'trustworthy' news based on surveys

Delia Walker
January 21, 2018

"My hope is that this update about trusted news and last week's update about meaningful interactions will help make time on Facebook time well spent", Zuckerberg said. Facebook announced Friday an additional update - asking users to rate news sources so that the news items they do see in their feed are from trusted outlets.

Mr Zuckerberg has also flagged it will continue to fight fake news by using member surveys to identify high-quality outlets and fight sensationalism and misinformation.

Here's how this will work.

Zuckerberg outlined the shakeup in a post on Facebook, saying that starting next week the News Feed, the company's centerpiece product, would prioritize "high quality news" over less trusted sources.

The idea is that some news organisations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don't follow them directly, he added.

It says it has surveyed a "diverse and representative sample" of U.S. users and next week it will begin testing prioritizing the news sources deemed trustworthy. It will only shift the balance of news they see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.

Many factors determine where a post appears in a Facebook user's News Feed such as subject of the post, who wrote it and who is commenting on it. How was the first approach calculated?

The social-media giant, a major source of news for users, has struggled to brush off an uproar over fake news and Russian-linked posts, alleged to influence the 2016 USA elections, on its platform. According to Zuckerberg, this is just the start of a process to "prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local".

The quality of news on Facebook has been called into question after alleged Russian operatives, for-profit spammers and others spread false reports on the site, including during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the new timeline change in a post on Facebook's blog. "Facebook has stopped being fun and is now frustrating", one Facebook user lamented.

The social media giant has been heavily scrutinized from media, users and regulators about how much control they have in terms of the information seen by billions of people daily, so now they are attempting regulation by its own users and trying to solve problems.

"I get ads from places I have absolutely no interest in".

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