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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, September 24, 2018


Here’s how Facebook will access trustworthy news on its feed

Devised a way to deal with fake news

Share on Facebook January 21, 2018, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 703


CALIFORNIA, U.S. - In a bid to crack down on a problem that has gripped the world’s biggest social network for over a year now, Facebook has now announced that it has devised a way to deal with fake news.

According to a statement released by the U.S. company, Facebook will now prioritize news sources that are deemed to be more trustworthy on its News Feed.

Facebook said that the social network community will determine which outlets are reliable via the use of user surveys, that Big News Network can confirm have already been implemented in a number of countries.

According to a statement released by Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, news content will soon make up around 4 percent of what appeared in people's News Feeds.

This is a reduction from the 5 percent limit set previously.

The move is the latest attempt by the company to quell the spread of fake news and propaganda on the network and comes as part of Zuckerberg’s New Year’s vow to “fix” Facebook. 

According to experts, the change is an attempt to shift the key judgements over bias and accuracy away from Facebook's employees, and onto its vast global user base.

Zuckerberg reportedly said in his statement, "We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you - the community - and have your feedback determine the ranking."

According to the social media giant, users will be asked whether they recognize a news brand and if they trust it.

While Facebook's theory is yet to be tested on a large scale, there are many partisan outlets that have readers that trust them.

Further, there is a smaller subset of media companies that a majority people find "broadly trustworthy,” whatever their particular leanings.

Zuckerberg pointed out, "There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. 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."

The company has said that the news ranking system will first be tested on U.S.-based users only, and the results of the survey will not be made public.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “This is one of many signals that go into News Feed ranking. We do not plan to release individual publishers' trust scores because they represent an incomplete picture of how each story's position in each person's feed is determined."

According to experts, any such algorithm change, whether on Facebook or any other major web service, some will benefit and others that will struggle.

For instance, traditional media organizations with long histories or a strong broadcast presence are set to be likely winners, but emerging brands will suffer if recognition is not as strong, regardless of whether the content is trustworthy or not.

Experts have also pointed out that it remains unclear how trustworthy, specialist news organizations with smaller readerships - such as science publications - will be treated under these rules.

According to Facebook's head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, local news would at least be protected.

Mosseri pointed out, "We're making it easier for people to see local news and information in a dedicated section. We'll continue to work on ways to show more local news that is relevant to where people live."

Experts also noted that the platform’s move to survey users will help Facebook avoid claims of censorship and bias.


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