Facebook says it will prioritize original reporting and 'transparent authorship' in the News Feed

ANKARA, TURKEY - SEPTEMBER 04: Icons of WhatsApp Messenger messaging and voice over IP service, Instagram social networking service, Social network company Facebook, YouTube video sharing company, Snapchat multimedia messaging app, Swarm mobile app, Facebook Messenger messaging platform and Gmail email service applications are seen on a screen of smart phone in Ankara, Turkey on September 04, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKEY - SEPTEMBER 04: Icons of WhatsApp Messenger messaging and voice over IP service, Instagram social networking service, Social network company Facebook, YouTube video sharing company, Snapchat multimedia messaging app, Swarm mobile app, Facebook Messenger messaging platform and Gmail email service applications are seen on a screen of smart phone in Ankara, Turkey on September 04, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anthony Ha

Facebook announced this morning that stories with original reporting will get a boost in the News Feed, while publications that don't clearly credit their editorial staff will be demoted.

The change comes as a number of high-profile companies have said they will pull their advertising from Facebook as part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, organized by civil rights groups as a way to pressure the social network to take stronger steps against hate speech and misinformation.

On Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will start labeling — but not removing — "newsworthy" content from politicians and other public figures that violates its content standards. (He also said that content threatening violence or suppressing voter participation will be removed even if it's posted by a public figure.)

Today's blog post from VP of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown and product manager Jon Levin doesn't mention the ad boycott, and it suggests that these changes were developed in consultation with news publishers and academics. But these certainly sound like concrete steps the company can point to as part of its efforts against misinformation.

Unilever and Verizon are the latest companies to pull their advertising from Facebook


What gets prioritized in the News Feed has long been a thorny issue for publishers, particularly after a major change in 2016 that prioritized content from friends over content from publishers.

"Most of the news stories people see in News Feed are from sources they or their friends follow, and that won’t change," Brown and Levin wrote. "When multiple stories are shared by publishers and are available in a person’s News Feed, we will boost the more original one which will help it get more distribution."

As for "transparent authorship," Facebook will be looking for article bylines, or for a staff page on the publisher's website. As Brown and Levin noted, "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."

While these seem like smart, straightforward changes (Google announced similar steps last fall), Brown and Levin also warned publishers not to expect "significant changes" in their Facebook traffic, as there are a "variety of signals" that go into how content gets ranked in the News Feed.

Also worth noting: These changes only apply to news content.

As advertisers revolt, Facebook commits to flagging ‘newsworthy’ political speech that violates policy


More From

  • How to watch Rocket Lab launch satellites for Canon, Planet and more live

    Rocket Lab is launching a rideshare mission today which includes seven small satellites from a number of different companies, including primary payload provider Canon, which is flying a satellite equipped with the camera-maker's Earth imaging technology, including high-res photo capture equipment. The Electron rocket that Rocket Lab is flying today will also carry five Planet SuperDove Earth-Observation satellites, as well as a CubeSat from In-Space missions. The launch, which is named 'Pics or It Didn't Happen' is set to take place during a window which opens at 5:19 PM EDT (2:19 PM PDT) and extends until 6:03 PM EDT (3:03 PM EDT), lifting off from Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

  • How Have I Been Pwned became the keeper of the internet's biggest data breaches

    When Troy Hunt launched Have I Been Pwned in late 2013, he wanted it to answer a simple question: Have you fallen victim to a data breach? Seven years later, the data-breach notification service processes thousands of requests each day from users who check to see if their data was compromised — or pwned with a hard 'p' — by the hundreds of data breaches in its database, including some of the largest breaches in history. As it's grown, now sitting just below the 10 billion breached-records mark, the answer to Hunt's original question is more clear.

  • The UK government to acquire satellite company OneWeb in deal funded in part by India's Bharti Global

    Distressed satellite constellation operator OneWeb, which had entered bankruptcy protection proceedings at the end of March, has completed a sale process, with a consortium led by the UK Government as the winner. The group, which includes funding from India's Bharti Global – part of business magnate Sunil Mittal's Bharti Enterprises – plan to pursue OneWeb's plans of building out a broadband internets satellite network, while the UK would also like to potentially use the constellation for Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) services in order to replace the EU's sat-nav resource, which the UK lost access to in January as a result of Brexit.

  • Lime puts Jump bikes back on London streets

    Jump bikes are returning to London — this time through its new owner Lime . London is the first city in Europe to see Jump bikes return since Uber offloaded the company to Lime in a complex deal that unfolded in May. Lime raised $170 million in a funding round led by Uber, along with other existing investors Alphabet, Bain Capital Ventures and GV. As part of the deal, Lime acquired Jump, the electric bike and scooter division that Uber acquired in 2018 for around $200 million.