What Facebook's Feed Changes Mean for the News

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Facebook, which is not expected to release the results of the survey, hopes that the results will "shift the balance of news" seen by users towards sources that are determined to be trustworthy.

Go to News Feed Preferences on Facebook.com.

In one of the most significant shifts to its platform since its inception, the changes are meant to boost users' "meaningful interactions" on the network, in an effort "to make sure that our products are not just fun but good for people", CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with the New York Times. Of course, there are worries that survey-takers will try to game the system, or that they just won't be able to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality news sources - an issue made evident by the spread of many fake-news items in the past few years.

This News Feed change is not the same as a recent test Facebook did where it moved all Page content to the Explore tab. "Even if it's a little out there, if it doesn't shake your political ideology or how you see the world, you're more likely to trust it, because that makes sense to you".

On 11 January, Facebook announced changes to the News Feed which are "designed to help bring people closer together by encouraging more meaningful connections".

Reuters/Brian SnyderFacebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to reporters at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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The social network has had trouble managing its role as one of the world's most powerful news distributors. Last year Facebook came under considerable scrutiny after being accused of being the engine of fake news during the US elections.

As of this week Facebook's product teams have been tasked to ensure news that is "trustworthy, informative, and local" is priortised. The question it posed was essentially: Why on Earth would Facebook be putting trust in people it doesn't trust to be able or responsible enough to know what is fiction and what is a good standard of news. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. In the U.S., there has been a growing partisan split in perceptions of the media. However, these changes have influenced brands, businesses, and media outlets quite badly.

It would be hard to find two developments that are more ironic.

"There was a period in the 70s when most American households watched one of the three major news networks", he said.

We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.