Facebook to use surveys to boost ‘trustworthy’ news

Facebook to use surveys to boost ‘trustworthy’ news

January 20, 2018   11:38 am

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Facebook has announced it will prioritise news sources deemed to be more trustworthy on its News Feed.

The firm said the social network community will determine which outlets are reliable via the use of user surveys.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said news content will soon make up around 4% of what appeared in people’s News Feeds - down from 5% before.

The move is the latest attempt by the company to quell the spread of so-called fake news and propaganda on the network.

Mark Zuckerberg vows to ‘fix’ Facebook

As part of that continuing battle, Twitter also announced on Friday that it had notified 677,775 US-based users who had retweeted, liked or followed Russian bot accounts on the network in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election.
The change is an attempt to shift the key judgements over bias and accuracy away from Facebook’s employees, and onto its user base.

“We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you - the community - and have your feedback determine the ranking.”

Users will be asked, as they sometimes are about advertising, whether they recognise a news brand and if they trust it.

Facebook’s theory - yet to be tested on a large scale - is that while there are many partisan outlets that have readers that trust them, there is a smaller subset of media companies that a majority people find “broadly trustworthy”, whatever their particular leanings.

“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarisation in the world today,” wrote Mr Zuckerberg, who recently announced that his challenge this year was to essentially “fix” Facebook.

“Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them.”

- BBC Tech 

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