Following what it describes as good results after months of tests, Facebook has announced that it is expanding its reduction of political content in News Feeds to cover users in additional countries. The move follows a relatively small test with some Facebook users in the US earlier this year, marking the arrival of similar changes for users in Ireland, Sweden, Spain, and Costa Rica.
Facebook has faced heavy criticism over the political content found on its platform, primarily the huge mass of misinformation, disinformation, and similar media readily shared across the social network. Though the company has taken steps to address some of these issues, critics have argued that the company hasn’t done enough and that it remains a major source of fake news for many users.
On February 10, the company had announced that it was taking steps to reduce the amount of political content in users’ News Feeds, something it said was due to feedback from users who were tired of the among of these posts they were seeing. The company spent the next few months testing these tweaks, including with small numbers of users in the US, Canada, Indonesia, and Brazil.
In an update on the matter published today, Facebook said it is expanding these changes to Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain, and Ireland, as well. As part of its update, Facebook explained:
…we’re gradually expanding some tests to put less emphasis on signals such as how likely someone is to comment on or share political content. At the same time, we’re putting more emphasis on new signals such as how likely people are to provide us with negative feedback on posts about political topics and current events when we rank those types of posts in their News Feed.
Facebook notes that some publishers may see changes in their traffic as the reduced political content spreads to more users.