Facebook wants you to rank which news sources are credible

21 January, 2018, 00:35 | Author: Larry Hoffman
  • Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2016 CEO Summit in Lima Peru

Mark Zuckerberg, the company's CEO, explained in a post that the surveys ask people how familiar they are with a given source, and if so, whether they trust it.

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.

The change comes as the online giant seeks to address charges that it has failed - along with Google and Twitter - to prevent the spread of bogus news, most strikingly ahead of the 2016 USA presidential election.

Facebook will take a three-pronged approach to improving the news: trusted sources, informative content, and local news. It's unclear if Facebook will factor in controls to help ideological bias - given that legitimate news outlets on both sides of the political spectrum are often attacked or dismissed by ideological enemies as "fake news". Facebook initially proposed fighting false stories by letting users flag them.

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There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. And we're starting next week with trusted sources. "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", Zuckerberg continued.

The company, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, said it will use surveys to determine rankings on how trustworthy news outlets are.

News organizations immediately began considering how they and competitors would fare in the ranking.

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 USA newspapers.

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Zuckerberg said Facebook will use the data to evaluate news outlets.

"I get ads from places I have absolutely no interest in". A source's broad trust is one of many signals that determine stories' ranking in News Feed. Naturally, many publishers may be anxious about where they will end up on Facebook's ranking of trust sources.

News Corp owner of the New York Post and other outlets, responded to the earlier Facebook announcement with a pledge to look for "any signs that the weighting of news sites is politically motivated".

Facebook says it will start prioritizing news sources deemed trustworthy in the US and then internationally.

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The Rupert Murdoch-led company had no immediate comment on Friday.

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