Facebook will list sources according to their reliability

Monday, 22 Jan, 2018

As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they're familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. This means that the social network's own members may have nobody to blame but themselves for low-quality content. Publishers already hate the idea, as this "crowdsourcing of opinions" could lead to manipulation.

To this, Zuckerberg assured that the company's product teams have been notified of the increasing amount of "spam" and are working on developing new methods to decrease the amount of public content appearing on the News Feed.

Facebook will prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative and local from trusted sources to combat fake news and strengthen relationship and engage in active conversations with users. In one survey, people were asked if they recognized a number of websites and then asked, "How much do you trust each of these domains?"

The move is another effort by the company to re-establish trust with the public, after much of that trust was eroded in wake of revelations about Russian interests using the platform to influence the 2016 USA election. We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with.

For Facebook, which has long resisted becoming an arbiter of what's fact and what's fiction, the introduction of a trustworthiness score for news outlets represents a major philosophical shift.

"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. According to Zuckerberg, Facebook considered making the decision on news sources itself or consulting outside experts but ultimately felt that going to the community would be the most "objective" method of determining which news sources are most broadly trusted.

News will get a slightly less prominent role in the news feed - 4%, down from 5% -with announced last week that Facebook says will promote meaningful social interactions over aimless scrolling.

Raju Narisetti, chief executive of the Gizmodo Media Group, the unit of Univision that operates Jezebel and other sites, said the user-generated ranking system "is a massive abdication of its social responsibility, as a vital platform, to be a good custodian of the Fourth Estate globally".

The role Facebook plays in what news people consume has dramatically expanded in recent years. "Or we could ask you - the community - and have your feedback determine the ranking".