Facebook to Let Users Rank Credibility of News

Randal Sanchez
January 23, 2018

"We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective", Mr Zuckerberg wrote in his post, rejecting the idea that the company rank news outlets' trustworthiness itself.

"The overhaul of the news feed spells trouble not only for publishers and traffic but also for brands, which stand to lose the audience they worked (and paid) to build up themselves".

The system will become part of Facebook's ongoing quality surveys.

Whose responsibility is it to make sure we aren't exposed to fake news? In October, reports suggested roughly 126 million users in the United States may have seen posts and content on the platform created by Russian-government backed trolls around Election Day.

It admitted in September that an operation likely based in Russian Federation spent $100,000 on thousands of ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period.

Dr. Itai Himelboim, an associate professor of advertising at the University of Georgia, studies the role of social media in news and political communication and examines information flow.

Facebook has announced its plans to prioritise more trustworthy news sources on its News Feed. So this doesn't mean the end to news on our feed.

In the past year or so, Facebook has attempted to employ some measures in its effort to fight fake news, including its third party fact-checking initiative. "When it comes to 'fake news, ' that's often how fake news spreads". However, the need to stay informed through social media sites like Facebook might improve media literacy among users by necessity.

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"Clearly there are a lot of people that like information sources they agree with", he said.

As intended, consumers can expect to see a reduction in content from publishers and brands which will be replaced by more meaningful interactions from individuals within their network. Users won't see more news as a result - it accounts for about 4 per cent of feeds, he added - but what they do see will hopefully be of better quality.

Facebook remains one of, if not the most cost-effective forms of advertising available to marketers today.

If you have a good social media strategy, you shouldn't have much to worry about - the shift just means we have to get more in touch with those we want to reach.

Gizmodo's Bryan Menegus was more scathing, "Surveys that, if they're like prior surveys regarding publication trust, are nearly certain to conclude that partisan coverage is trusted far more than brands like the Associated Press or Reuters that attempt objectivity". Many users have expressed disappointment that while new updates are rolled out, abuse on the platform seems to be getting more hard to report. Lets say you are really interested in a hot topic in the news and you actively click, search for, like, and comment on content pertaining to that topic, news stories of interest will still show up on your feed.

"On one hand, you say, let's find find out what news sources people trust and why", he said.

Zuckerberg's full announcement post is below.

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