Facebook's Formula for Newsworthiness: Get News Sources Ranked by Users

Facebook's Formula for Newsworthiness: Get News Sources Ranked by Users

IndraStra Global News Team

Facebook's Formula for Newsworthiness: Get News Sources Ranked by Users

Facebook will soon begin favoring news sources its users consider trustworthy, in an attempt to quell the spread of disinformation on its platform. The users will determine which outlets are reliable via surveys.

The world’s largest social network wants to prioritize “high quality” news that is “trustworthy, informative and local”, said Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive, in a post announcing the change.

“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation, and polarisation in the world today,” he wrote. “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 estimates will result in less news in the News Feed overall — from the current 5 percent down to an estimated 4 percent.

Facebook, as a social network owner,  won't be assessing the trustworthiness of news outlets itself. Instead, News Feed head Adam Mosseri said that users are being polled on what outlets they believe trustworthy or otherwise, and that data will be used to rank outlets. 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.

Earlier on January 12, 2018, Facebook announced it would be making major changes to the News Feed to prioritize updates from friends and family, while de-emphasizing news and brands, to try and foster what CEO Mark Zuckerberg described as "meaningful interaction." 


Facebook's formula - yet to be tested on a large scale - is that while there are many partisan outlets that have readers that trust them, there is a smaller subset of media companies that a majority people find "broadly trustworthy", whatever their particular leanings. Most likely, the traditional media houses with long histories or a strong broadcast presence, such as the New York Times or BBC might be at an advantage with their "credible reputation".
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