Algorithms Will Be ‘Driving the Majority of Facebook News,’ Says Facebook

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Facebook’s news section, which was previously reported to be imminent, is here: The company is rolling out Facebook News in a limited test in the U.S. as a home screen tab and bookmark in the main Facebook app. In a blog post, Facebook’s Campbell Brown (vice president of global news partnerships) and Mona Sarantakos (product manager, news) said that news articles will continue to appear in the main News Feed. However, they said that creating a specific tab focused on journalism “gives people more control over the stories they see, and the ability to explore a wider range of their news interests, directly within the Facebook app.” It sounds like Facebook News will use both human editors and algorithms to determine which stories you see — an unusual move for a company that’s been hesitant to police the content posted by users and advertisers. Specifically, there will be a section called Today’s Stories, curated by a team of journalists to highlight the biggest national news stories of the day.

At the same time, Facebook will also provide algorithmic story suggestions based on your interests and activity. You’ll be able to hide articles, topics and publishers you don’t want to see, and browse sections devoted to business, entertainment, health, science and technology, and sports — topics where Facebook users apparently felt underserved. “Regarding personalization, publishers worry that machine learning has limits and they’re right,” Brown and Sarantakos wrote. “We have progress to make before we can rely on technology alone to provide a quality news destination.” Nonetheless, they suggested that algorithms will be “driving the majority of Facebook News,” and that they’ll be working to ensure that those algorithms are also surfacing “new forms of journalism in the digital age, including individual, independent journalism.”


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