Facebook, facing mounting criticism over its ability to stymie the spread of extremism and misinformation on its platforms, has announced it is to prioritise original news and reporting in the news feed.
The social network will now begin identifying original reporting on a developing story or topic by finding the most often-cited original source within a group of articles. The identified original story will rank higher in the news feed than other news articles.
Original News Content
Original reporting plays an important role in informing people around the world, from breaking a news story to creating an in-depth investigative report, uncovering new facts and data, sharing critical updates in times of crisis, or broadcasting eyewitness reports. This important journalism takes time and expertise, and we want to ensure that it’s prioritized on Facebook.
“We will now prioritize articles in News Feed that we identify as original reporting on a developing story or topic. We do this by looking at groups of articles on a particular story topic and identifying the ones most often cited as the original source. We’ll start by identifying original reporting in English language news and will do the same for news in other languages in the future. “
Most of the news stories people see in News Feed are from sources they or their friends follow, and that won’t change. When multiple stories are shared by publishers and are available in a person’s News Feed, we will boost the more original one which will help it get more distribution. Defining original reporting and the standards for it are complex, so we will continue to work with publishers and academics to refine this approach over time.
“We are also starting to demote news content that does not have transparent information about the publisher’s editorial staff. We will review news articles for bylines or a staff page on the publisher’s website that lists the first and last names of reporters or other editorial staff. We’ve found that publishers who do not include this information often lack credibility to readers and produce content with clickbait or ad farms, all content people tell us they don’t want to see on Facebook.”
Editorial transparency is a professional standard supported by organizations like the Trust Project, SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, Global Forum for Media Development, and Reporters Without Borders’ Journalism Trust Initiative. We consulted with these organizations, in addition to more than 20 other global media experts, to develop these standards. We recognize that in some areas, transparency can put journalists at risk so we are only doing this in limited markets to start, taking into account the press environment in which publishers operate.
How Will These Changes Impact Publishers’ Content?
Original news and reporting may see an increase in distribution as a result of these changes, but it’s important to remember that News Feed uses a variety of ranking signals to prioritize content. You can learn more about how we rank publisher content in News Feed here. We anticipate most news publishers won’t see significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of these updates.