Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told media executives that Facebook is in the process of creating a system to rank news organizations by trustworthiness and will access user surveys to label whether news sources are “broadly trusted.”
According to news reports about the meeting, news organizations scoring higher in user trust rankings will receive preferential treatment in Facebook’s News Feed, while lower-scoring outlets will be downplayed.
After a PR battle on Capitol Hill around questions about user privacy and Russian influence, Zuckerberg has tried to right the Facebook ship, taking a proactive role in protecting democracy rather than allowing Facebook to be agnostic about the values it promotes in cyberspace.
There is much misinformation in the news, and having a methodology to flag untrustworthy sources is vital to help our democracy grow stronger.
A valid concern for conservatives about this Facebook initiative is whether Facebook will be fair in dealing with conservative media outlets. We know they deemed Diamond and Silk “unsafe for the community” and when it had a team working on selecting stories for the algorithm, there was a bias against conservative news sources.
“I know many conservatives don’t trust that our platform surfaces content without a political bias. I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post after a 2016 meeting with conservative leaders.
Conservatives deserve to know how Facebook will ensure conservative media outlets are receiving fair treatment. How will Facebook prevent manipulation of its ranking system by liberal employees (Silicon Valley has a well-known bias against conservatives) and external forces that don’t respect conservatives?