Facebook has been criticized by some for failing to address the issue of fake news in any significant way, and such criticism has spurred the social network into action. According to the company, it has pushed out a pair of News Feed updates that ‘incorporate new signals’ for spotting and ranking so-called authentic content, as well as adding a new way to determine in real time whether a post is relevant to an individual user.
“We’ve heard from our community,” said Facebook in a statement yesterday, “that authentic stories are the ones that resonate the most — those that people consider genuine and not misleading, sensational or spammy.” While Facebook has long looked at engagement on a post and its relevance to you as signals about whether you see it in your News Feed, it now has added new ‘universe signals’ for improved sorting.
These signals look into whether a post is authentic — that is, whether or not it is fake news. To achieve this, Facebook used authentic Pages to train a model on identifying authentic posts from other pages. Some user activity points toward whether a post is fake news, such as being frequently hidden by users.
As well, Facebook says real-time signal changes will be included in its determination of whether you should see a particular bit of content higher in your News Feed than something else. A temporarily high engagement, for example, could trigger certain content to the top of the News Feed. This will help surface exciting in-the-moment news, such as a team’s game victory or breaking news.