In the face of a flood of "fake news," sensationalism, and mass marketing, Facebook has announced it is testing a new, more restricted and curated version of its News Feed.
Based on user feedback, Facebook will determine and prioritize the trustworthiness of news outlets. This goes beyond the social network's previous decision last week to promote "meaningful posts" by filtering out posts and video content from brand posts and boosting those that friends and family share.
Zuckerberg said Facebook will use its quality survey system, asking "a diverse and representative sample" of U.S. Facebook users if they are familiar with particular sources and if they find them truthful.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook could have passed judgment on the quality and trustworthiness of sources using intelligent computer code, or it could have outsourced the process to other experts and technologies. In the end, however, it felt that feedback from the Facebook community itself was the best and most objective way to identify trusted news sources.
In addition to news trustworthiness, Facebook is concerned with the quality of information content. Thus, one of the major new News Feed "values" is that stories appearing in anyone's News Feed should be informative.
Moreover, to help people access local news and information, Facebook pages will display that in a special, dedicated section.
Being pickier with the news will not greatly affect the general flow of news in the News Feed, Zuckerberg said. The "real news" of the News Feed will probably shrink from the current 5 percent of the content to about 4 percent.
These actions by Facebook are a drastic change from its previous policy of allowing its own editors to curate the news.
It is likely a response to the criticism it received when Facebook fired many editors after Republican political figures noted that news stories with conservative content were suppressed from Facebook. In a similar vein, Facebook was accused by users and lawmakers of manipulating the 2016 American presidential election.
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