Facebook recently announced that it will be making major changes to its newsfeed that will significantly impact what users see. The emphasis, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained, will be on posts from users’ friends and family, as well as what Facebook calls “trusted sources.”
Those “trusted sources,” however, are not necessarily going to be the same pages and news sites that users follow. Rather, they are sources that Facebook designates as “trusted” through what it says will be rankings produced by “a diverse and representative” sample of Facebook users (see full post by Mark Zuckerberg below). Which sources are “trusted sources” and which are not, is unclear. Sources not deemed “trusted”, even those you choose to follow will possibly get buried in your newsfeed.
But there’s a way to make sure that Facebook does not prevent you from seeing posts by your favorite sites. Below are the instructions for how to update your Facebook settings so that your newsfeed prioritizes posts by sites you follow, like The City of McLendon-Chisholm, rather than letting Facebook or another algorithm determine what you get to see.
1. On your Facebook homepage, click the drop-down arrow on the top right of the page and select “News Feed Preferences” (usually found near the bottom of the listed options).
2. Select “Prioritize who to see first” (usually the first option listed).
3. Change the view options to show “Pages only,” so it’s easier to find the pages for the sites you prefer to see in your newsfeed. Then simply select the pages you wish to see first in your newsfeed.
Another way to protect your newsfeed: Go to the Facebook page of the site you want to follow, click the “Following” drop-down arrow, and check the “See First” option “In Your News Feed.”
After you’ve protected your newsfeed to make sure you’re still seeing posts from your favorite sources, the other extremely important thing you can do to make sure those sources don’t get buried by Facebook is share posts with friends and family.
Here is an excerpt of the message posted by Zuckerberg explaining the platform’s new emphasis on promoting “trusted” news sources in order to protect against “sensationalism, misinformation and polarization” (full post below):
There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them. That’s why it’s important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground.
The hard question we’ve struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division. We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you — the community — and have your feedback determine the ranking.
We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.
Here’s how this will work. As part of our ongoing quality surveys, we will now ask people whether they’re familiar with a news source and, if so, whether they trust that source. The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don’t follow them directly. (We eliminate from the sample those who aren’t familiar with a source, so the output is a ratio of those who trust the source to those who are familiar with it.)
This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.