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Facebook, Which Has Apparently Never Been on the Internet, Decides to Let Users Vote on Most Trustworthy News Sources

Facebook recently announced that it would be tweaking its News Feed algorithm — now, you should be seeing more posts from friends, rather than from publishers. (Cue the sound of a million content creators weeping in unison.) Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that this means your feed should now be just 4 percent news, rather than the previous 5 percent. Oh … and he also announced that Facebook is going to let its users decide which news sources they trust the most. “This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.” Zuckerberg calls this being “objective.” You might call it “asking for it.”

From Facebook:

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. 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.)

How, you might be asking yourself and scratching your head, is Facebook going to determine a list of trusted news sources, given the vast spectrum of ideologies among its users? It probably isn’t. In 2014, a Pew study attempted to find out what news sources Americans trusted and distrusted. The study — as pointed out on Twitter by Pew’s Mike Barthel — didn’t find many, if any, news outlets that people could agree on, an issue Facebook will probably soon be discovering. But, hey, now if you see some fake news floating around your News Feeds, the onus is off the company. Blame “the community.”

Facebook Decides to Let Users Vote on Trustworthy News