In the latest move that is set to infuriate news organizations that are not deemed “trustworthy”, Facebook is set to introduce “sweeping changes” to its newsfeed as early as next week, prioritizing trustworthy sites and removing “clickbait” and low quality news publishers, while promoting posts from friends and family, the WSJ reports.
Under its new approach, Facebook would evaluate parameters such as public polling about news outlets, and whether readers are willing to pay for news from particular publishers. Such variables would inform its algorithm that determines which publishers’ posts are pushed higher in the feed, one of the people said.
It is not known how Facebook will decide which publications are deemed trustworthy.
The move would thrust Facebook into an even more active role in deciding what content is acceptable on its site, in other words censoring content it deems inappropriate while promoting news outlets that are ideologically aligned with the organization.
While the WSJ writes that Facebook hasn’t decided whether to proceed with the shift, and it may choose not to do so, the FT disagrees and reports that the world’s largest social network will unveil the change imminently, according to people briefed on the plans, hoping to differentiate between salacious content and quality news. “Zuckerberg has finally realized that not all news is equal,” said one publisher – clearly on the promoted sight of “equal” – briefed on the plans.
While Facebook will try to make the newsfeed a place for personal sharing and in-depth discussions – similar to Snapchat – and move other content from pages and publishers to a separate space within the app, the move is widely expected to infuriate news organizations which are not deemed trustworthy or high quality by the site.
Meanwhile, the change to the algorithm is sure to have a dramatic impact – whether positive or negative – on the revenue of virtually all news organization who now rely almost exclusively on facebook for inbound traffic referral.
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