Facebook announces changes to News Feed rankings, prioritizing original reporting and transparency

(Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • Facebook has announced changes to the way it shows news.
  • It is going to prioritize original reporting and stories with transparent authorship.
  • The changes will only apply to news content.

Facebook has today announced changes to the way it shows news on user feeds, stating that going forward it will prioritize original reporting and stories with transparent authorship going forward.

In a new blog post the company stated:

Today, we're updating the way news stories are ranked in News Feed to prioritize original reporting and stories with transparent authorship. These signals are based on user research and were built with feedback from news publishers and academic experts. They will only apply to news content.

Facebook says that news is important in informing people around the world and that it wants to ensure that it is prioritized on Facebook. Facebook says:

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.

Facebook will start by doing this with English language stories, before being expanded to other languages in the future. Facebook says that seeing stories shared by friends you follow won't change, but when multiple stories on the same topic are shared by publishers, Facebook will boost the original story more, working with publishers and academics to refine the process.

Transparent authorship

Facebook has also said it will demote 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.

Facebook says that as a result of these changes original news may see "an increase in distribution" as a result of these changes. You can read the full announcement here.

Stephen Warwick
  • Still can't get chronological order by default though..
  • Or get everything without individually looking up all of your friends pages. I've lost track of the number of times I found out something of major importance three days later.
  • I feel you on that one. Facebook is all over the place with their design and layout. It seems that rather than make their app/website more functional, they just want to keep adding things without trimming the fat. 
  • It would be awesome if they were able to drag out that original source. I'm thinking of all those "Want to send your name to Mars?" articles that bury the link to the NASA site in the last paragraph. Just take me right to NASA's page, don't dump me to some intermediary.