Facebook Wants You To Rate News Sources Based On How Much You Trust Them

Katrina Barber

Facebook is changing (again). Earlier this month, the social media company (or is it a publishing platform?) announced it would be drastically altering its news feed feature to show users more content from people on their friends list and fewer items from publishers, following two years of the platform dealing with problems like bots, trolls, and fake news. Facebook announced Friday an additional update — asking users to rate news sources so that the news items they do see in their feed are from trusted outlets.

Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg announced the new feature in a lengthy post in which he declared he no longer wanted Facebook to be the arbiter of content. Zuckerberg added he wasn’t comfortable with Facebook having that responsibility in a “world with so much division.” Here’s part of his explanation on the subject:

Here’s how this will work. 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. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)

This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.

Facebook will take a three-pronged approach to improving the news: trusted sources, informative content, and local news. How was the first approach calculated?

We surveyed a diverse and representative sample of people using Facebook across the US to gauge their familiarity with, and trust in, various different sources of news. This data will help to inform ranking in News Feed.

Facebook said that news outlets that are “broadly trusted” might see a huge uptick in traffic, while less trusted sources may see a downswing. However, the fact that Russian bots and other political interest groups have gamed the Facebook system before may not inspire much trust in the process.

Read Zuckerberg’s entire post on the matter below:

(Via Facebook Newsroom)