Tags: Facebook | Editors | Determine | Trending News | Report

Report: Facebook Relies on Editors to Determine 'Trending' News

Image: Report: Facebook Relies on Editors to Determine 'Trending' News
(Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 12 May 2016 04:19 PM

Facebook relies on editorial news judgment along with algorithms to determine the day's biggest news stories in an approach that has made the social networking site the world's largest news distributor.

According to internal documents leaked to The Guardian, Facebook has a small editorial team that makes key decisions on its "trending module" headlines — a list of news topics that shows up on the side of the browser window on Facebook's desktop version.

In 2014, the site stepped back from its pure-algorithm approach amid attacks that Facebook did not include sufficient coverage in users' feeds of the protests after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the Guardian reports.

The documents also refute Facebook's claim of a solely algorithmic approach to the site's news coverage: "The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, pages you've liked and your location."

The information is included on a page that addresses the question: "How does Facebook determine what topics are trending?"

Facebook, founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and based in Menlo Park, Calif., is under fire for excluding conservative news outlets — including Newsmax — in its trending news coverage.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has called for an investigation into accusations of news bias at Facebook.

According to the documents provided to the Guardian, human intervention occurs at nearly every stage of Facebook's trending news operation. The team once numbered as large as 12.

Here are some highlights, according to the Guardian:
  • News editors, working in shifts around the clock, were instructed on how to "inject" stories into the trending topics module — and how to "blacklist" topics for removal for up to a day because they don't "represent a real-world event."
That decision was left to the discretion of the editors.
  • Facebook wrote that "the editorial team CAN [sic] inject a newsworthy topic" if users create something that attracts a lot of attention — "#BlackLivesMatter," for instance.
  • The site relies heavily on just 10 news sources to determine whether a trending news story has editorial authority.
"You should mark a topic as 'National Story' importance if it is among the 1-3 top stories of the day," according to the trending review guidelines for the United States.

"We measure this by checking if it is leading at least five of the following 10 news websites: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Yahoo News or Yahoo."
  • Strict guidelines are enforced regarding Facebook's "involved in this story" feature, which culls information from the site's pages of newsmakers — a famous author, celebrity or top athlete, for instance.
The guidelines help editors determine which users' pages are appropriate to cite, and how prominently.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
Facebook relies on editorial news judgment along with algorithms to determine the day's biggest news stories in an approach that has made the social networking site the world's largest news distributor.
Facebook, Editors, Determine, Trending News, Report
462
2016-19-12
Thursday, 12 May 2016 04:19 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved