Facebook Wants More Quality News, however Its Recent Moves Won’t Guarantee of which

Facebook can be rethinking its approach to news, in addition to on Monday the company made its clearest statement yet on where of which process can be heading. “We are, for once inside the history of Facebook, taking a step to try to define what quality news looks like in addition to give of which a boost,” Facebook’s head of news partnerships Campbell Brown said in an interview at Recode’s Code Media conference.

however while goal can be clear, the path Facebook can be taking won’t necessarily get of which there. As Brown in addition to Facebook News Feed head Adam Mosseri made clear during their talk, the company can be going to emphasize three factors — local, informative, in addition to trusted news sources — however these metrics don’t seem sufficient to effectively determine what quality news can be on their own.

Emphasizing these factors, which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined in a recent post, does amount to a major departure for Facebook. The company incorporates a long history of downplaying its role in creating editorial decisions about news content. however as Facebook tries to get away coming from the sensationalized, fake, in addition to vapid news of which’s plagued its platform, of which’s still taking a light, indirect approach of which isn’t likely to solve its problems.

Facebook’s plan to rely on a user survey to help of which figure out what “trustworthy” content of which will promote, for instance, won’t assuredly lead to of which promoting more quality content. The company announced plans to survey a wide array of Facebook users about their familiarity in addition to trust level with publishers, in addition to of which will use feedback gathered inside the survey to promote news coming from publications of which readers broadly trust. however the prospect of which This kind of will boost only quality news can be questionable, since people using Facebook have shown they widely trust fake news — as evidenced by the run up to the 2016 election when viral fake news stories outperformed real news stories.

Local news can be also not assuredly quality news. A recent test of Facebook’s completely new local content module in Olympia, Washington, for instance, showed of which the platform’s algorithms included a local police blotter blog in its news section. This kind of blog, while certainly local, only meets the standard of quality news if you think publishing posts off a police scanner can be even news at all.

in addition to Facebook has still not figured out its stance on what informative content can be. One of Facebook’s goals, Brown said, can be “to try to define better what of which means creating sure of which we capture news organizations like Recode or Vox of which may not hold the big brand of which a broadly trusted publisher could,” she said. On all three, Brown added, “How This kind of manifests inside the coming months can be not totally clear to us right today.”

Each of these three factors seem to be Facebook’s way of building proxies for what quality news should be, without placing itself in position to make clear judgment calls itself. in addition to indeed, in a statement to BuzzFeed News, Brown seemed to make This kind of evident. “People in addition to publishers on Facebook have been clear they prefer quality news; in addition to our work to ensure broadly trusted sources, more informative sources, in addition to local sources are finding distribution can be a strong step toward delivering on of which promise,” she said.

Relying on these factors, instead of creating its own calls, leaves Facebook inside the position of saying of which wants quality while potentially optimizing toward something else.

Alex Kantrowitz can be a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News in addition to can be based in San Francisco. He reports on social in addition to communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at alex.kantrowitz@buzzfeed.com.

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