Facebook’s latest News Feed update will prioritize trustworthy publishers

Facebook is gearing up to prioritize news content by publishers a group of Facebook users have deemed trustworthy. Facebook head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said the company surveyed “a diverse and representative sample” of U.S.-based people about their familiarity and trust in various sources of news, he wrote in a blog post.

That data, Mosseri said, will serve to inform News Feed rankings. The plan is to first do this in the U.S. before rolling it out internationally. That means, starting next week, “publications deemed trustworthy by people using Facebook may see an increase in their distribution,” Mosseri wrote. “Publications that do not score highly as trusted by the community may see a decrease.”

As part of Facebook’s ongoing quality surveys, Facebook will now ask people if they’re familiar with a news source and if they trust it. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided a bit more detail about the thinking behind it in a post:

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “(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.)”

Prioritizing news from trusted publishers is part of Facebook’s broader effort to revamp the News Feed and “encourage meaningful social interactions with family and friends over passive consumption,” Zuckerberg wrote. Last week, Facebook announced major changes to News Feed, which entails less public content, like news and nonsense from brands.

Facebook also now expects news make up four percent, instead of about five percent, of content in the News Feed,  Zuckerberg said. But Zuckerberg also says the update “will not change the amount of news you see.”

“It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that public content would make up 4 percent of News Feed. Rather, news will now roughly make up 4 percent of content in News Feed.