Facebook launches literally the best news feature ever!

Actually, it’s not that great, but not that bad either. Facebook has launched a new feature on its news feed which will use artificial intelligence to try to reduce misleading, sensationalist or fake news.

The News Feed will now assess the relevance and authenticity of a post on how well received it is by others in your network. If there is a topic which you have previously indicated interest in this will normally feature on the News Feed, though now Facebook will measure the number of comments to measure the authenticity of the post, and judge whether it is more or less relevant to you, dependent on who commented on it.

If someone from your social circle is commenting, it is more likely to be of interest, and therefore elevated up the News Feed, assuming it is a topic which the AI has deemed is appropriate to you.

“When ranking News Feed, we look at many signals personal to you, such as how close you are to the person or Page posting, as well as more universal signals like the overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) that a post has,” Facebook has said on its website.

“With this update, we’re adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, we categorized Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares. We then used posts from these Pages to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.

“If a post is likely to be authentic based on the new signals we look at, it might show up higher in your feed.”

The Facebook team has been working hard recently to improve the advertising proposition of the platform over recent months, and one way which it can do it is to remove fake news. The more authentic, reliable and relevant the content is to a user, the more engaged that user becomes, because numbers aren’t enough anymore.

In a time of customized and concentrated advertising solutions, Facebook needs to demonstrate to its more cash-conscious customers that any advert would be well received by an appropriate number of users. Gone are the days were internet advertising was just a numbers game, Facebook has to show that the number of users is increasing, but also that time spent on the platform is as well.

Creating the idea that Facebook is not only a social network, but a source of interesting, relevant and contextual news for the consumer, will undoubtedly improve these metrics, but fake or sensationalised content needs to be addressed. It frustrates users and damages the credibility of Facebook as a content curator.

People often complain that they spend too much time on Facebook, but if the team can crack the complicated question of using AI to generate genuinely relevant and interesting content for the user, expect the amount of time spend on the platform to further increase. Most will be able to tell you from experience that the relevance is not there, but there have been some noticeable improvements recently.

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