Facebook Is Changing Its Algorithm to Prioritize Original Reporting

User research results show an appetite for credible news stories

illustration of person holding microphone in a Facebook video playing on a phone
Facebook published a blog post today outlining a system for prioritizing original reporting. Facebook

Facebook is changing the way news stories are ranked to prioritize original reporting and transparent authorship, the platform said today in a blog post.

The change was based upon feedback Facebook received in its user research, which indicated an appetite for more credible and informative news stories. The platform is working with academic experts and news publishers to establish the process by which original reporting will be identified.

“Original reporting plays an important role in informing people around the world, from breaking a news story, to creating an in-depth investigative report, uncovering new facts and data, sharing critical updates in times of crisis, or broadcasting eyewitness reports,” wrote Facebook vp of global news partnerships Campbell Brown and product manager Jon Levin in today’s post. “This important journalism takes time and expertise, and we want to ensure that it’s prioritized on Facebook.”

Content from news sources that users or their friends follow will still make up the majority of stories in a user’s feed. But when there are many stories on a similar topic, the story with original reporting and transparent authorship will be prioritized.

Stories from sources that don’t provide transparent information about the publisher’s editorial staff will be demoted, a strategy based on editorial transparency standards from organizations such as the Global Forum for Media Development, Reporters Without Borders’ Journalism Trust Initiative, SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and the Trust Project.

Facebook expects most news publishers won’t see significant changes in the distribution of their stories on the platform as a result of this shift.

@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.