SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc ( FB.O ) will prioritize "reliable" news in its social media posts feed, using member surveys to identify high-quality outlets and fight against sensationalism and misinformation, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday.
The company, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, said that its members, not experts or Facebook executives, would determine the classification of the media in terms of reliability. He also said that he would emphasize local news sources.
The measure is likely to send shock waves through the media landscape in almost all countries, given the ubiquity of the world's largest social network and how central news distribution has become in some places.
Zuckerberg said on Friday he expects recently announced changes to reduce the amount of news on Facebook by 20 percent, to around 4 percent of all the content of 5 percent today.
The CEO outlined the reorganization in a Facebook post and said that starting next week News Feed, the company's main product, would prioritize "high quality news" about less reliable sources.
"There is too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today," Zuckerberg wrote.
"Social media allows people to disseminate information faster than ever, and if we do not specifically address these problems, we end up amplifying them," he wrote.
The quality of the news on Facebook has been questioned after alleged Russian operatives, for-profit spammers and others spread false reports on the site, including during the US election campaign. UU In 2016.
Two years ago, Facebook users saw cheating by saying that Pope Francis backed Republican Donald Trump for the president of the United States. UU And that a federal agent investigating the Democrat Hillary Clinton was found dead. Facebook initially proposed combating false stories by allowing users to point them out.
The change will affect not only the links published by the media, but also the news that people share, Facebook said.
News organizations immediately began to consider how they would fare in the ranking.
FIGHTING FAKE NEWS
The confidence ranking will help address false news stories, said David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, a trade group of old-time American newspapers.
"For some time, we have argued that Facebook should prioritize news from reliable sources," he said in a statement.
Tom Gara, editor of opinion in BuzzFeed News, wrote on Twitter that he expected the media to get worse: "This seems like very good news for news editors who are not hated on one side or the other."
Facebook has had a stormy relationship with news organizations, especially those with strong political inclinations. In 2016, the Republican legislators of the USA. UU They expressed concern that Facebook, based in Northern California, was deleting news of interest to conservative readers.
Facebook said that reliability classification was not intended to directly affect any specific group of publishers based on their size or ideology.
Zuckerberg said he resolved to survey Facebook users after refusing the company to classify the reliability of the media.
"We decided that having the community determine which sources are widely trusted would be the most objective," he wrote in his publication.
Facebook said it did not plan to publish the survey results because they will represent an incomplete picture of how the position of a story is determined in a person's feed.
Many factors determine where a publication appears in the news of a Facebook user, such as the subject of the publication, who wrote it and who is commenting on it.
Last week, Zuckerberg said the company would change the way it filters the publications and videos in News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share.
News Corp ( NWSA.O ), owner of the New York Post and other media, responded to Facebook's previous announcement with the promise to seek "any signal that the weighting of the news sites is politically "motivated. "
The company led by Rupert Murdoch made no immediate comments on Friday.
Reports by David Ingram, Edition by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman