Facebook to let users determine what news sources are trustworthy
- Facebook announced that, as part of an overhaul to its News Feed, the platform will prioritize news content from publishers the community rates as trustworthy, informative and relevant to local communities, Head of Newsfeed Adam Mosseri wrote in a company blog post.
- The company will soon begin testing the new community-based ranking system in the U.S. before rolling it internationally. Facebook surveyed a diverse group of users to determine their familiarity and levels of trust with different news sources to influence News Feed rankings.
- Facebook will continue asking users to rank on a scale of one to five for how informative updates in their News Feeds are. The social network plans to also make it easier for people to see local news and information, the blog post said. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also posted about the news, saying it's a move against "sensationalism, misinformation and polarization" online. It can be viewed in full below.
Over the past year or so, Facebook has been working to remove fake news, spam and clickbait from publishers in order to improve transparency and the overall quality of content shared on its platform. Earlier this month, it announced a dramatic update to its strategy: that its algorithm would start to diminish the reach of posts shared by brands and media outlets in favor of personal posts from friends and family. The latest bit of news shows that these changes will also affect how news that continues to appear in News Feed is ranked, putting greater control in the hands of the site's community as opposed to the teams at Facebook. This could potentially backfire, as the public's deeming of news credibility isn't necessarily going to be comprehensive or informed.
It could also further frustrate publishers, who've long had a contentious relationship with Facebook and its frequent algorithm changes and are especially concerned that the News Feed overhaul will put a serious dent in their traffic and revenue. In a previous Facebook post, Zuckerberg said the change will reduce the amount of news in the News Feed from 5% to 4%. The executive has continuously said that the News Feed changes are meant to promote meaningful social interactions and a sense of community. Publishers that users find trustworthy may see an increase in distribution, Mosseri's post said, while those with lower scores may see a decrease.
Publishers should now be concerned with creating meaningful, relevant and localized content that appeals to users. This extends to brands looking for organic over paid reach as well, along with those who frequently produce branded content with publisher partners. In the wake of these shifts, some marketers are getting more bullish on Facebook influencer content as a way to preserve organic reach on the platform.