In a major change announced Friday to the News Feed used by 2 billion users every month, Facebook will now ask users to rank the news organizations they trust and diminish its role as an arbitrator of the news people see.
The move comes after Facebook endured a year of harsh criticism for allowing fake news and disinformation to spread on its social network. In a blog post accompanying the announcement, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote the company is not “comfortable” deciding which news sources are the most trustworthy in a “world with so much division.”
“We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective,” he wrote.
The new trust rankings will emerge from surveys the company is currently conducting. “Broadly trusted” news outlets that are affirmed by a significant cross-section of Facebook users may see a huge boost in readership, while organizations receiving poor ratings could see their web traffic decline significantly. The changes will also promote local news sources, which have suffered major subscription and readership declines as news consumption migrated online.