Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced an update to new changes, announced last week, to the News Feed algorithm which heavily prioritised social interactions with family and friends over public content, including news, video, and posts from brands. This means public posts you see will account for just 4% of your News Feed. This is a big change for the service.
Today Zuck shared details of a second major update which will ensure the posts you see are high quality. Now quality is relatively subjective, but as a company, they believe the news that is trustworthy, informative, and local is a great start. Facebook says next week the change will begin to add trusted sources.
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. That’s why it’s important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground.
Its how to deal with that from a technology perspective that is something that the company has struggled with. Do you continue to work on your algorithm, or do you move to heavily curated content, or do you give users the capability to adjust a series of sliders that puts them in control of how much of each content they see?
Ultimately Facebook decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.
Here’s how this will work
Facebook will continue to survey users where they ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.) This should make it difficult for brands to game the system.
This change won’t change the amount of news you see on Facebook, only change the sources of the news you see, shifting it to sources that are determined to be trusted by the community. Facebook doesn’t say if they’ll allow brands to see their Pages trust levels and what a new brand could do to become trusted.