Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Local news takes flight in South Dakota’s largest city
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 31, 2021, 4:05 p.m.
LINK: about.fb.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   August 31, 2021

Back in February, Facebook said that it would “temporarily reduce the distribution of political content in News Feed” for some users in Canada, India, Brazil, and the U.S. On Tuesday, the company said that these tests had “positive results.”

As a result, we plan to expand these tests to Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain and Ireland.

We’ve also learned that some engagement signals can better indicate what posts people find more valuable than others. Based on that feedback, we’re gradually expanding some tests to put less emphasis on signals such as how likely someone is to comment on or share political content. At the same time, we’re putting more emphasis on new signals such as how likely people are to provide us with negative feedback on posts about political topics and current events when we rank those types of posts in their News Feed.

The change was first reported by Axios.

People already don’t see that much political news in their Facebook feeds, we found in our analysis last year.

But if Facebook is switching its emphasis from outward-facing signals of engagement (the number of shares and comments a post gets) to inward-facing ones (users reporting individual posts or turning them off), the result could be fewer hyperpartisan stories in News Feeds racking up “angry” reactions and fueling hate reads. It could make politics discussion on Facebook a little bit more boring and a little bit less toxic.

It seems as though the changes may already be underway in the U.S.

But Facebook never reveals how it defines “political,” and who knows which publishers will end up hurting the most.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Local news takes flight in South Dakota’s largest city
Pigeon 605 is delivering personalized local news to residents in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Are readers’ biases to blame for gender disparities in sports reporting? This study says no
The study looked at sports articles in a German newspaper and found that the byline’s gender didn’t have a significant effect on readers’ perception of the writer’s expertise.
Do countries with better-funded public media also have healthier democracies? Of course they do
But the direction of causality is tricky. Do a democracy’s flaws lead it to starve public media, or does starving public media lead to a democracy’s flaws?