Facebook to promote local news in drive for 'trusted' content
30 January, 2018, 02:02 | Author: Larry Hoffman
Earlier this month, Facebookannounced it will ask its two billion users to rank their trust in news sources as part of an effort to combat the spread of misinformation.
Zuckerberg wrote that he hopes the focus on local news will help "turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues" that divide our country.
So basically, all you have to do to count as a "prioritized" local publisher is have a lot of readers in a tight geographic area.
Zuckerberg said on Monday that his decision to make the push in local news came at least partly from his whirlwind tour of the U.S. previous year, in which he traveled to 30 states he'd never been to. It is, it says, focusing on the quality of connections and content on its platform after a bruising year of stories about fake news, foreign election meddling, filter bubbles and social media addiction. "Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives".
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The change initially applies to U.S. users only, with plans for additional countries later in the year. "If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed".
Facebook chose to rely on member surveys to rank trust in news sources.
It is not just local news services like Nextdoor that will benefit from the changes, Facebook executives say.
An organization like ours falls squarely in the latter group by Facebook's definition. Zuckerberg said he has directed his product teams to prioritize news that is "trustworthy, informative, and local".
"This update may not capture all small or niche-interest publishers at first, but we are working to improve precision and coverage over time", the company writes in the post.
What Facebook is also doing, without spelling it out explicitly, is trying to cut down on fringe publishers, or bad actors that are deliberately trying to game the system.
The company will elevate posts that ignite conversations and meaningful interactions between friends while demoting the many videos, news stories and business posts that users consume passively - without commenting and sharing.
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