SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said on Friday that it planned to prioritize high-quality news on the social network by allowing its users to rank news sources that they see as the most credible and trustworthy.
The initiative, which follows an overhaul that Facebook announced last week to emphasize posts, videos and photos shared by friends and family, will not increase the amount of news on the social network. But the move has implications for what news will continue to be consumed on Facebook, potentially favoring the most familiar names in media that are seen as the most credible, while tilting away from lesser-known and less-trusted outlets.
“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wrote in a post on Friday. “We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective.”
The shift is another signal of Facebook’s ability — this time using the collective power of its more than two billion members — to play kingmaker with publishers. Many publishers have long relied on Facebook to reach readers, and reacted with disappointment last week when the company said it would de-emphasize news over all.
The move is also the most recent by Facebook to counter charges that not enough is being done to stamp out fake news and disinformation on the social media platform. The company was dogged by criticism in late 2016 after the presidential election that too many false stories attacking Hillary Clinton had spread on its site, that way affecting the election’s outcome. Last year, Facebook also acknowledged that Russian agents had used the site to spread divisive and polarizing ads and posts.
Facebook said it would begin prioritizing news across the platform on Monday based on feedback it received from users about trustworthiness of news sources. The new ranking system will be rolled out in the United States before expanding globally, a company spokesman said.