Facebook will prioritize news from ‘trusted’ publishers while de-emphasizing news overall

Facebook will prioritize news from ‘trusted’ publishers while de-emphasizing news overall

A week after Facebook said that it will reduce the amount of news in people’s News Feeds, the company has announced that it plans to increase the quality of the news that does appear.

Facebook will prioritize news posts from publishers that certain users have flagged as trustworthy, the company announced on Friday. Facebook will start this test in the US next week and plans to eventually expand it internationally.

To compile its list of trusted publishers, Facebook will rely on surveys asking “a diverse and representative sample of people” using the social network whether they are familiar with a particular news source and, if so, whether they consider the source trustworthy, according to a company blog post.

Facebook will not publicly share a list of trusted publishers nor will it label posts from these publishers, according to a company spokesperson.

In attempting to identify and prioritize trusted news sources, Facebook continues to try to stem the spread of fake news on its social network. Facebook was revealed to be an effective conduit for misinformation during the 2016 US presidential election and has been trying to filter out the falsehoods ever since. In December 2016, the company adopted a two-step system to have users flag fake news posts and independent fact-checkers evaluate their veracity, though that program proved unsuccessful and led Facebook in December 2017 to discontinue the “disputed” tags that it had the fact-checkers append to false stories. Nonetheless, Facebook has decided to once again turn to its users to validate the information distributed on its platform.

“This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see toward sources that are determined to be trusted by the community,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post published on Friday.

Of course, the amount of news people see on Facebook will change. Last week, the company said that it will begin to prioritize posts from a person’s friends over those from people or companies they follow, including brands and publishers. As a result of that change, “we expect news to make up roughly 4 percent of News Feed — down from roughly 5 percent today,” per Zuckerberg.

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