News & Events

Facebook News to fight fake news?

Well known for its instantaneous updates, Facebook has become the main channel for readers to receive their daily dose of news. However, the social media behemoth was under fire for its lack of efforts in curating real and substantial news last year; hence, Facebook is now stepping up to combat fake news with the launch of Facebook News in the US.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s VP, Global News Partnerships, and Mona Sarantakos, product manager, News, said in a statement: “People want and benefit from personalised experiences on Facebook, but we know there is reporting that transcends individual experience.

“We want to support both.”

The Facebook News segment will give readers more control on the articles they wish to see and interact, with highlights on most relevant national stories of the day. According to the industry’s feedback, Facebook is including the following features in its News:

  • Today’s Stories: Chosen by a team of journalists to bring readers up to speed on the news throughout the day;
  • Personalisation: Based on the news readers read, share and follow, so they can find new interests and topics, and Facebook News is fresh and interesting every time they open it;
  • Topic Sections: To dive deeper into business, entertainment, health, science & tech, and sports;
  • Your Subscriptions: A section for people who have linked their paid news subscriptions to their Facebook account; and
  • Controls: To hide articles, topics and publishers they don’t want to see

After surveying more than 100,000 people in the US, Facebook realised that they are under-serving many topics in the News Feeds, especially entertainment, health, business and sports. However, instead of relying on machine learning, Facebook has created the News Page Index, to identify credible publishers in general, topical, diverse and local news.

Moreover, the publisher needs to adhere to the Facebook’s Publisher Guidelines which includes a range of integrity signals in determining product eligibility, including misinformation — as identified based on third-party fact checkers — community standards violations (for example, hate speech), clickbait, engagement bait and others. Lastly, the publisher ought to serve a sufficiently large audience.

Brown stated: “Our criteria will evolve over time to make sure people are seeing sources that are valuable to them and that we’re including reporting across these topics … Facebook News is built to bring people closer to the stories that affect their lives.

“We’ll continue to learn, listen and improve Facebook News as it rolls out more broadly. We hope this work aids in our effort to sustain great journalism and strengthen democracy.”

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