Revealed! Trust, familiarity indices to determine news ranking on Facebook

Joana Costa

Joana Costa

In a bid to improve the quality of news and repress the spread of fake news on the social networking site, Facebook has announced that it will rank news publishers by trustworthiness based on user feedback.

Facebook Inc will begin to prioritize "trustworthy" news outlets on its stream of social media posts as it works to combat "sensationalism" and "misinformation", Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday.

To do so, he said, Facebook chose to rely on member surveys as the most "objective" way to rank trust in news sources.

The social media giant has been heavily scrutinized from media, users and regulators about how much control they have in terms of the information seen by billions of people daily, so now they are attempting regulation by its own users and trying to solve problems. "That's why it's important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground".

Zuckerberg has said his goal for this year is to fix Facebook, whether by protecting against foreign interference and abuse or by making users feel better about how they spend time on Facebook.

Mr Zuckerberg has also recently said his company felt a responsibility to ensure that their users not only enjoyed the product, but were not being negatively impacted by it. We also send freebies and lots of other goodies exclusively to our email subscribers.

"We will now ask people whether they're familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source".

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The site is taking steps to push more personal content - so you may be more likely to see your friend Sarah's holiday snaps, rather than breaking news. And we're starting next week with trusted sources.

"After this change, we expect news to make up roughly four per cent of News Feed - down from roughly five per cent today".

Facebook said that news outlets that are "broadly trusted" might see a huge uptick in traffic, while less trusted sources may see a downswing.

Two years ago, Facebook users saw hoaxes saying Pope Francis endorsed Republican Donald Trump for U.S. president and that a federal agent investigating Democrat Hillary Clinton was found dead.

The effort could have a large effect on news publishers, many of which are already anxious that Facebook has cut their access to Facebook users.

"My hope is that this update about trusted news and last week's update about meaningful interactions will help make time on Facebook time well spent", Zuckerberg said.

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