Facebook Announces 2nd Big Tweak to Its Algorithm

Plans to boost news sources that its users rate as trustworthy in surveys
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2018 6:10 AM CST
Facebook Announces 2nd Big Tweak to Its Algorithm
In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook is announcing its second major tweak to its algorithm this month, saying it will prioritize news based on users’ votes.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(Newser) – Facebook is taking another step to try to make itself more socially beneficial, saying it will boost news sources that its users rate as trustworthy in surveys. In a blog post and a Facebook post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg Friday, the company said it is surveying users about their familiarity with and trust in news sources. That data will influence what others see in their news feeds. It's the second major tweak to Facebook's algorithm announced this month: Facebook announced last week that it would try to have users see fewer posts from publishers, businesses, and celebrities, and more from friends and family. Zuckerberg said Friday because of that, news posts will make up 4% of the news feed, down from 5% today, reports the AP.

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Facebook says it will start prioritizing news sources deemed trustworthy in the US and then internationally. It says it has surveyed a "diverse and representative sample" of US users and next week it will begin testing prioritizing the news sources deemed trustworthy. Publishers with lower scores may see a drop in their distribution across Facebook. Of course, there are worries that survey-takers will try to game the system, or that they just won't be able to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality news sources—an issue made evident by the spread of many fake-news items in the past few years. Facebook's move is a positive one, but that it's not clear how effective this system will be in identifying trustworthy news sources, David Chavern, CEO of the news media trade group News Media Alliance, said in a statement Friday.

(Read more Facebook stories.)

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