Facebook is Asking Users Whether They Trust a News Source

Frederick Owens
January 23, 2018

As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they're familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is calling on its users to help rank news sources on the platform, based on the metric of trust.

Last week, Zuckerberg said the company would change the way it filters posts and videos on its News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share.

The group said that they would ask the social network community to discern which news outlets are reliable, as this would be more objective.

The only right-leaning outlet that has nearly universal name recognition is Fox News Channel which, thanks to its polarizing effect, is simultaneously the most trusted and distrusted major news operation.

The changes come a week after Facebook announced it will show users posts from friends and family and fewer from brands and companies to increase "meaningful interactions" on the site. That data will influence what others see in their news feeds. "This is a big change, but news will always be a critical way for people to start conversations on important topics", Zuckerberg posted Friday.

Another motive of Facebook for making these changes is to curb fake news from untrusted new media outlets. We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with.

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Facebook is rolling out changes to its news feed that could affect posts you see from The Times and Democrat.

To this, Zuckerberg assured that the company's product teams have been notified of the increasing amount of "spam" and are working on developing new methods to decrease the amount of public content appearing on the News Feed.

Facebook says it is also increasing its focus on local news in 2018, and it adding a section specifically to read about events and stories nearby.

The effect on media businesses is likely to be profound, given that a large portion of Facebook's 2 billion users get much of their news from the site.

The move comes after the company faced severe criticism over the last two years for allowing misinformation and propaganda to spread on its platform and for supposedly favouring liberal news platforms over conservative ones.

Facebook wants to make sure its users aren't duped by stories from untrustworthy news publications. The company also considered asking outside experts to decide, but ultimately found that wouldn't solve the objectivity problem either.

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