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Facebook Is Going To Let Users Rank News Credibility

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said Friday (Jan. 19) that starting next, week the social media site will start prioritizing news sites.

Facebook announced Friday it will ask its two billion users to rank their trust in news sources, in its latest attempt to combat the spread of misinformation on the social network.

This means that Facebook users will see less content on their newsfeeds from brands and publishers. But as Zuckerberg has now revealed in his January 19 post, the news that people do see from publishers will also come from a more limited number of sources.

What's more, this announcement to tweak the News Feed to put people first could be nothing more than a stunt.

He said that there was too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world, and that if social media does not become part of the solution, it is part of the problem. The changes will also promote local news sources, which have suffered major subscription and readership declines as news consumption has migrated online. More specifically, it will come from "trusted" media sources that have been vetted by Facebook's community of users.




Facebook won't be assessing the trustworthiness of news outlets itself. One example is the Bolivian news site, Página Siete, which saw a steep drop in traffic from Facebook.

Zuckerberg continued with, "we decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective". We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that's not something we're comfortable with.

The new "trusted sources" ranking, which starts next week, would aim to "make sure the news you see, while less overall, is high quality" and "helps build a sense of common ground" rather than sow division, Zuckerberg said. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem.

Facebook has been struggling with how to handle its distribution of news in an era of fake news and claims of media bias.

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