Helping People Better Assess the Stories They See in News Feed with the Context Button

Taylor Hughes, Jeff Smith and Alex Leavitt

By Taylor Hughes, Software Engineer; Jeff Smith, Product Designer; and Alex Leavitt, UX Researcher

Last year we started a test in the US to give people more background information about the publishers and articles they see in News Feed. We’re now rolling out this feature to everyone in the US and adding additional features to provide more context for people so they can decide for themselves what to read, trust and share.

Research with our community and our academic and industry partners has identified some key information that helps people evaluate the credibility of an article and determine whether to trust the article’s source. Based on this research, we’re making it easy for people to view context about an article, including the publisher’s Wikipedia entry, related articles on the same topic, information about how many times the article has been shared on Facebook, where it is has been shared, as well as an option to follow the publisher’s page. When a publisher does not have a Wikipedia entry, we will indicate that the information is unavailable, which can also be helpful context.

In addition to the information included in our original test, we’re introducing two new features that will give readers more context:

  • More From This Publisher, which will give people a quick snapshot of the other recent stories posted by the publisher
  • Shared By Friends, which will show people any of their friends who have shared the article

We’re also starting a test to see whether people find it easier to evaluate the credibility of an article when we provide more information about the article’s author. People in this test will be able to tap an author’s name in Instant Articles to see additional information, including a description from the author’s Wikipedia entry, a button to follow their Page or Profile, and other recent articles they’ve published. This information will only display if the publisher has implemented author tags on their website to associate the author’s Page or Profile to the article byline, and the publisher has validated their association to the publisher. This will start as a small test in the US, and we look forward to learning from the results.

We designed these features with feedback and input from a diverse set of people and publishers, including many participants in the Facebook Journalism Project. Developing a way to provide objective context about the stories people see on Facebook was a unique design challenge. We wrote more about this process on our Facebook Design blog.

We’ll continue to look for opportunities to improve this experience and help give people more context about the news they see on Facebook.

Update 5/31: Today, we’re also starting to roll out this feature in the UK.

Update 9/19: Today, we’re also starting to roll out the context button in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

  • We will now also share website/domain age, which will give people more information about the source — see below for updated visuals.
  • We’re expanding our coverage from articles to all links.

Update 10/9: Today, we’re also starting to roll out the context button in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Update 10/25: Today, we’re also starting to roll out the context button in France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Update 12/12: Today, we are beginning to roll out the context button globally. When available, we will surface information about a website so people can learn more about it. If that information is not available, we will give people the option to suggest a Facebook Page for a domain, and direct publishers to the Help Center to learn about how to get the context button for their Page/website.

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