Facebook says it will start prioritizing news from outlets that its users think are "trustworthy".
In a statement posted on the platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that posts from news publications will still make up small amount percentage on a user's news feed (about four percent). The tests, running in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, place all the posts from publishers such as news companies inside a new Explore section, requiring users to navigate outside the News Feed to see the posts unless they are shared by a friend.
"We surveyed a diverse and representative sample of people using Facebook across the United States to gauge their familiarity with, and trust in, various different sources of news".
But there are already concerns that this could prioritise partisan sources of information. But that the news users do end up seeing will be from "trustworthy, informative and local" sources.
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The change comes amid criticism that the social network helps to spread misinformation.
Earlier this month, Facebook announced major changes to the News Feed to prioritize updates from friends and family while de-emphasizing news and brands, a move aimed at fostering what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called "meaningful interaction".
The company said it wasn't "comfortable" deciding for itself whether or not a news outlet is reliable.
But as a reminder, you can filter your News Feed by going to your Facebook home page and selecting "Most Recent" instead of "Top" from the dropdown bar next to the News Feed, in order to view posts chronologically rather than in an order that's been algorithmically sorted for you.
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"The hard question we've struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division".
Zuckerberg said social media's power to distribute content quickly and widely makes Facebook responsible to promote "high quality news".
To do so, he said, Facebook made a decision to rely on member surveys as the most "objective" way to rank trust in news sources. What we don't know is how the proposed system to identify trusted news sources will really work.
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