Facebook Steps Up Efforts to Curb Fake News


Having dealt with criticism in the past few months, especially since fake news started getting viral on the platform, Facebook has announced more tweaks to its news feed algorithm in order to serve more authentic and relevant stories to users.

The update to Facebook’s news feed comes in addition to the changes in algorithms of its Trending section in order to curb fake news from going viral.

Facebook announced two updates to its news feed on Tuesday, which includes an algorithm tweak helping them to identify and rank authentic stories better and the other one serves users with more relevant stories.

“We’ve heard from our community that authentic stories are the ones that resonate most — those that people consider genuine and not misleading, sensational or spammy,” Facebook stated.

Changes to Establish Authenticity and Relevance

When Facebook is ranking items to populate your news feed, it gathers the relevance using several metrics which includes your personal engagement — likes, comments, shares — with the page as well as overall engagement that a post receives.

With the new update, the 1.8 billion-strong social network has begun categorising pages based on their behaviour — if they were posting spams or asking for likes, comments or shares from users.

Then they trained their algorithm to identify pages and posts which had the same spammy behaviour, helping in ascertaining the authenticity of posts from a page.

“If page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic. If a post is likely to be authentic based on the new signals we look at, it might show up higher in your feed,” the company added.

Facebook uses real-time metrics in order to figure out which post to serve you first. So, if a friend has recently commented on a post, there is a high chance of your news feed showing it too.

With the new update, the social networking site will serve topics or posts to your news feed based on their overall engagement. If a topic is being discussed by a larger number of people in real-time and it fits your interests too, then it’ll be shown higher up on your news feed.

“If your favourite football team just won a game, we might show you posts about the game higher up in the News Feed because people are talking about it more broadly on Facebook,” the company adds.

The company maintains that Pages on Facebook won’t face any major issues due to the tweak in News Feed algorithm — some pages might see a minor increase in engagement and click through rates to their posts while others might witness a slight decrease.

In the past, Facebook has faced the issue of featuring stories, which lack credible sources and aren’t being covered by mainstream media houses, that end up in people’s news feeds due to high engagement and in order to establish itself as a legitimate source of news, the social media giant has made certain changes.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.