Facebook Fights Fake News By Letting Users Rank News Sources

REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Facebook, which has taken heat for spreading misinformation, plans to start ranking news sources by how “trustworthy” users believe they are, according to a statement on the latest News Feed update.

News sources will be evaluated on trustworthiness, how informative it is, and relevance, but Facebook will not be making decisions on news outlets itself. “We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Friday.

“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today,” he explained in a post on his social media platform, “The hard question we’ve struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division.”

Facebook will rank news sources based on survey responses from users.

“This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook,” Zuckerberg said, “It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.”

“We’ll start with the US and plan to roll this out internationally in the future,” Facebook’s head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said in the statement released Friday.

This major change to the News Feed feature comes after Facebook spent much of last year under fire for the spread of fake news, which some considered an influential factor in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook is also taking steps to reduce the amount of news that appears in people’s News Feed.

There are some serious concerns that Facebook’s latest move will reinforce biased outlets as users offer their support to media outlets that confirm their personal biases, as “trustworthy” and “accuracy” are not necessarily synonymous.

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