MASTERCLASSING

Facebook begins test to reduce political content in its news feed

Tyrone Stewart


Facebook has begun testing changes to its news feed that will lead to a reduction in political content. The ‘temporary’ move will affect a small number of people in Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, and the US over the next few weeks.

The social network will use the test to explore different ways that it can rank political content in people’s feeds using different signals to help it decide what measures it should put in the place in the future. Those impacted by the test will also be surveyed about their experience.

Facebook says that COVID-19 information from authoritative organisations, and national and regional health agencies and services, as well as content from official government agencies and services, will be exempt from the tests.

“It’s important to note that we’re not removing political content from Facebook altogether,” said Aastha Gupta, Product Management Director at Facebook. “Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to find and interact with political content on Facebook, while respecting each person’s appetite for it at the top of their News Feed.”

Facebook has come under fire on many occasions over the years for its failure to manage the spread of political misinformation on its platform. However, despite that scrutiny, the platform claims that political content only makes up around six per cent of what its users in the US see.