Facebook Won’t Discharge Its “5% Of News Feed Content is usually News” Analysis

Facebook is usually refusing to Discharge data to back up its claim of which merely 5% of the content people see inside News Feed is usually news, a key figure in its recently announced plans to remake its powerful main product.

The company in addition to CEO Mark Zuckerberg have repeatedly cited the number while discussing News Feed modifications they anticipate will shrink news’ presence to roughly 4% of the News Feed.

Even without opening its books to external scrutiny, completely new details suggest the analysis has gaps: notably, the idea excludes the native videos Facebook trained in addition to paid media organizations to produce (BuzzFeed included), in addition to of which the idea promoted heavily. the idea also, according to a Facebook spokesperson, “does not encompass everything of which may be considered news,” including some other native posts without links including infographics, status updates in addition to photos, leaving open the question of just how dependent on some other companies’ intellectual property the social media giant has become. A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News of which including such content might not meaningfully change the numbers.

The News Feed algorithm change, which will prioritize posts of which encourage back in addition to forth interactions between friends in addition to family, occurs amid a crisis for Facebook, which has struggled to contain the spread of fake news in addition to misinformation on its platform. Last November, the company was called before Congress along with Google in addition to Twitter to testify under oath about the manipulation of its service by Kremlin-linked agents during the 2016 election in addition to its aftermath. Last week, Facebook was named dozens of times in an indictment charging the Kremlin-linked agents for meddling inside US election.

Fixing these problems is usually Facebook’s top priority in 2018. The company is usually examining the fundamentals of its News Feed in addition to its ad business in an attempt to protect both via future exploitation. the idea’s also trying to spark more meaningful interactions between users in addition to examining how the idea can make sure time on its platform is usually “well spent.”

A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News of which the amount of news content inside News Feed varies according to the individual. “People who follow news organizations or engage with news stories will see more of the idea in their feeds — in addition to for those who do not, This particular percentage might be lower,” the spokesperson said. The 5% number refers only to news content inside the average person’s News Feed, not news content on the platform overall. Facebook declined to share the percentage of news posts in relation to all posts on the platform

The methodology Facebook used to determine the 5% number is usually less than clear. of which percentage is usually “a best estimate based on several methodologies of which show the same result,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “One of the methods incorporates news publishers identified by ComScore, in addition to we also use our own classifiers in addition to self-reporting on Pages.” The company declined to share further information on its news “classifiers.”

The analysis does include all link posts to news stories, so news links shared by friends in addition to family, in addition to by publisher pages, are all included inside 5% number. Instant articles are also included, as is usually lifestyle content via news companies. Content via celebrities, sports teams, in addition to bands are not.

Facebook did not explain its rationale for excluding native media company content via its calculus, a move of which, for example, means nearly every post via right now This particular News — followed by 13 million people on Facebook — in addition to many posts via AJ+ — followed by 10 million people — didn’t factor as news in its analysis.

Facebook is usually asking the public to trust the idea as the idea makes these modifications. although the company also includes a history of metrics errors of which have involved everything via miscalculating average video watch time to overestimating time spent reading Instant Articles.

Here’s are the questions BuzzFeed News put to Facebook in addition to the company’s responses:

How did Facebook determine This particular number?

  • Context: For the average Facebook user, links via news publishers comprise less than 5% of content seen in News Feed. After the ranking modifications to prioritize interactions between friends in addition to family, we expect news to make up roughly 4% of content seen in News Feed.

  • This particular is usually a global average, based on posts with links to news publishers.

  • This particular is usually a best estimate based on several methodologies of which show the same result. the idea does not encompass everything of which may be considered news.

  • Every person’s News Feed is usually different, so This particular percentage can vary for individuals. People who follow news organizations or engage with news stories will see more of the idea in their feeds — in addition to for those who do not, This particular percentage might be lower.

Does Facebook have a running count of the percentage of News Feed content news accounts for or was This particular a one off study?

How did Facebook decide what a news post is usually for those counted inside number?

  • We use several methodologies of which result in roughly the same numbers. One of the methods incorporates news publishers identified by ComScore, in addition to we also use our own classifiers in addition to self-reporting on Pages.

Does Facebook have a master list of news sites whose links shared inside News Feed add up to of which 5%?

Does the 5% number include links to news stories shared by friends? Or is usually content via pages only?

Does the idea include video via news publishers in News Feed?

  • In general, native content via news publishers without external links — like video — are not counted. However, adding This particular wouldn’t significantly change the overall percentage of news content seen in News Feed.

Does the idea include lifestyle content via news publishers or media companies (for instance: NYT travel stories or Tastemade posts)?

Can you share the rest of the breakdown?

  • While we expect the amount of news people see in News Feed to be less overall, we’re taking steps to shift the mix of of which percentage in favor of high quality sources in addition to ensure of which the news people do see is usually trusted, informative, in addition to local.

  • People can always decide which stories appear at the top of News Feed with our See First feature.

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

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

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