CEO Mark Zuckerberg Friday that the company will ask users if they are familiar with a specific news source - and whether they trusted it - in order to help weed out less reliable sources. Posts shared by media outlets may appear more or less frequently in people's News Feeds depending on how trustworthy Facebook's users perceive those outlets to be.
The latest move comes a week after Facebook announced a major update to its user feed that highlights what friends and family share on the network, over advertisements, celebrity and media posts.
"We surveyed a diverse and representative sample of people using Facebook across the USA to gauge their familiarity with, and trust in, various different sources of news".
The Pew Research Center has found that more than two-thirds of Americans are getting at least some of their news from social media, making such outlets prime sources of information.
"There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today", Zuckerberg said.More news: Steve Smith claims ICC Test gong for 2017
In its announcement on Friday, Facebook warned that publishers who scored low on the trustworthy rankings may see their traffic decline. For some time, we have argued that Facebook should give priority to news from trusted sources.
Zuckerberg said social media's power to distribute content quickly and widely makes Facebook responsible to promote "high quality news".
Facebook recently announced other reforms that, the company estimates, will result in less news in the News Feed overall - from the current 5 percent down to an estimated 4 percent. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem.
Zuckerberg continued with, "we decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective".
A change of some sort seems necessary in the wake of the role Facebook played in distributing "fake news" - as well as political ads paid for by Russian troll farms - prior to the 2016 presidential election, not to mention Congress's subsequent call for the site to answer for its actions.