Facebook will now ask users to rank news organizations they trust

Gladys Abbott
January 20, 2018

Facebook will start focusing on quality rather than quantity when it comes to delivering news to its users.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Friday the social media network is using surveys to rate news organizations and assign them trust scores. "This data will help to inform ranking in News Feed", he wrote. A former Facebook manager recently spoke to NBC News and said that the company is only interested in growing its influence and making money.

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. Facebook has dealt with controversies in the past when conservative news sources have alleged unfair treatment, and the company claims this new system will put the power in users' hands.

But there are already concerns that this could prioritise partisan sources of information.

The changes came after Facebook - and the broader tech industry - came under a barrage of criticism over its impact on society, from its role in spreading Russian propaganda and misinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election to its impact on childrens' mental health.

Facebook will now ask users to rank news organizations they trust

In short: "Trustworthy" is not the same as "accurate".

As Facebook gears up for another News Feed algorithm change, a new report suggests tests of the platforms earlier algorithm tests aren't going as planned.

Meanwhile, Facebook - and the broader tech industry - has come under a barrage of criticism over its impact on society, from its role in spreading Russian propaganda and misinformation during the 2016 USA presidential election to its effects on the mental health of children.

The company said it wasn't "comfortable" deciding for itself whether or not a news outlet is reliable.

The company made a decision to use community input to rank news sources in an attempt to be as objective as possible, Zuckerberg said. So it views community feedback as the most suitable method. "T$3 o make sure the news you see, while less overall, is high quality", he said, "I've asked our product teams to make sure we prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local".

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