On January 19th Facebook’s official newsfeed posted about a new feature being implemented where users will rate news sources on how ‘trustworthy’ they are but don’t be fooled for a second. This has nothing to do with bringing more ‘trustworthy’ news sources to users but suppressing news or blogs where conservative viewpoints lie.
This is Mark Zuckerberg’s official post announcing and detailing the new feature.
“Continuing our focus for 2018 to make sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent…
Last week I announced a major change to encourage meaningful social interactions with family and friends over passive consumption. As a result, you’ll see less public content, including news, video, and posts from brands. After this change, we expect news to make up roughly 4% of News Feed — down from roughly 5% today. This is a big change, but news will always be a critical way for people to start conversations on important topics.
Today I’m sharing our second major update this year: to make sure the news you see, while less overall, is high quality. 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.
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.
The hard question we’ve struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division. We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you — the community — and have your feedback determine the ranking.
We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.
Here’s how this will work. As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)
This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.
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.”
I think it is pretty clear by now that liberals particularly when it comes to the internet greatly outnumber conservatives. So with this in mind news sources like CNN are going to be massively upvoted and Fox News mostly downvoted by users. So how the hell are we going to get ‘trustworthy’ news sources? This is the exact opposite of a free press.
I want to discuss this paragraph in particular.
“Here’s how this will work. As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)”
What Zuckerberg is saying here is that they are going to track our history and what we are looking at (as if we didn’t know they did that already) and if I, for example, were seen to be familiar with Fox News and trust it my survey won’t count. I have to point out that stating how your feature works publicly is a really stupid idea because then people know how to game the system although most people probably won’t have read the full post so majoritively my concerns are still deeply worrying.
Conservative news and blogs exposure has already been dramatically reduced from readers by Facebook’s already implemented features due to the company being very liberal so this is absolutely the nail in the coffin for conservative viewpoints on Facebook. I will say though that I do think that Twitter, Instagram and Youtube will ultimately take over Facebook in the coming years. YouTube surprisingly is currently second in global statistics with Facebook taking the number one spot which it has for a while, twitter eleventh and Instagram seventh as of January 2018.
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