Mark Zuckerberg

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Facebook wants you to determine which publishers should be trusted

Facebook needs help.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Jan 20, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 4:02 am CDT

As Facebook shuffling its News Feed to put more of an emphasis on content from friends and families instead of publishers, Mark Zuckerberg also wants you to be in charge of the news you see.

In a blog post shared Friday, the Facebook founder wrote that he trusts the social media site’s users to determine which news sources are legitimate and which are not.

“I’ve asked our product teams to make sure we prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local. And we’re starting next week with trusted sources,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”

But Zuckerberg said Facebook, which was pilloried during and after the 2016 presidential election by amplifying fake news sites, wasn’t comfortable making the decision about which news sources should be trusted. That’s why it’s turning to you.

Wrote Zuckerberg: “We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.”

Zuckerberg said the site will begin asking users, via their ongoing surveys, if they’re familiar with certain news sources and whether they trust them. If you’re not familiar with a news source, Facebook will eliminate that answer from its sample. When the site determines a source is trustworthy, it will presumably continue to show up in users’ feeds.

Wrote Zuckerberg: “My hope is that this update about trusted news and last week’s update about meaningful interactions will help make time on Facebook time well spent: where we’re strengthening our relationships, engaging in active conversations rather than passive consumption, and, when we read news, making sure it’s from high quality and trusted sources.”

One potential problem is that people don’t necessarily know which news sources they trust, and according to the Washington Post, some experts fear the social media site’s surveys are in danger of being gamed.

In its blog post, Facebook wrote that in 2018 it will continue to prioritize news from publications that users think is trustworthy, news that people believe is informative, and news that is relevant to a user’s local community.

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*First Published: Jan 20, 2018, 9:25 am CST