New Facebook update to prioritise trustworthy news, says Zuckerberg

21 January, 2018, 00:30 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • Hover over the “Following” pane to bring up a drop-down menu and choose “See first.”

Facebook announced on Friday that it will ask its two billion users to rank their trust in news sources, in its latest attempt to combat the spread of misinformation on the social network. The tech giants have since announced a number of measures meant to crack down on what their users can see or hear, in the name of fighting "fake news".

The move is likely to send shockwaves through the media landscape in almost every country, given the ubiquity of the world's largest social network and how central it has become in some places to the distribution of news.

After tweaking its News Feed to allow users to see more updates from family and friends than posts from businesses, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has now announced to prioritise news that is trustworthy, informative and local.

"There's too much sensationalism, misinformation, and polarisation in the world today", he wrote.

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"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", he wrote. Right now, it's unclear how Facebook will work to avoid attempts to game the system, whether it's through use of bots, group reporting or other methods.

We'll be working on these efforts for the rest of the year. "Facebook has stopped being fun and is now frustrating", one Facebook user lamented.

The trust ranking will help to address fake news stories, said David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, a trade group for old-line U.S. newspapers. "We boost links from sources with high trust scores and demote links from sources with low trust scores".

Facebook has had a stormy relationship with news organizations, especially those with strong political leanings.

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"I get ads from places I have absolutely no interest in". Naturally, many publishers may be anxious about where they will end up on Facebook's ranking of trust sources.

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. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.

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.

Zuckerberg has announced that he expects to bring the amount of "news" in the Facebook "news feed" down from 5% to 4%.

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