Facebook Is Reducing Political Content in News Feed

As Mark Zuckerberg mentioned on the company’s recent earnings call, one common piece of feedback Facebook hears is that people don’t want political content to take over their News Feed.

Over the next few months, Facebook will work to better understand peoples’ varied preferences for political content and test a number of approaches based on those insights.

As a first step, they will temporarily reduce the distribution of political content in News Feed for a small percentage of people in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week, and the US in the coming weeks. During these initial tests they’ll explore a variety of ways to rank political content in people’s feeds using different signals, and then decide on the approaches they’ll use going forward.

COVID-19 information from authoritative health organizations like the CDC and WHO, as well as national and regional health agencies and services from affected countries, will be exempt from these tests. Content from official government agencies and services will also be exempt.

To determine how effective these new approaches are, Facebook will survey people about their experience during these tests. It’s important to note that Facebook is not removing political content from Facebook altogether. Their 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.

Based on analyses in the US, political content only makes up about 6% of what people see on Facebook. And although each person’s News Feed is different, even a small percentage of political content can impact someone’s overall experience.

The platform offers controls to help you manage what you see in News Feed, such as tools like Favorites which lets you select people and pages you want to prioritize in your News Feed; Snooze to temporarily hide posts from a person, page or group; and the ability to turn off political ads.

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