Prioritizing Original News Reporting on Facebook

By Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships and Jon Levin, Product Manager

Update on December 8, 2021 at 9:35 AM PT: Beginning today, we’re no longer using transparent authorship as a signal to rank news content on Facebook. We’re removing this signal because it did not have a significant effect on the news ecosystem. We’ll continue our efforts to boost quality news by improving more impactful signals. You can read more about our approach to news here.

Update on January 12, 2021 at 10:00AM PT: News articles that do not contain new original reporting or analysis will now receive less distribution in News Feed. The more extensive original reporting an article contains, the more distribution it will receive in News Feed. Original reporting includes things like exclusive source materials, significant analysis, new interviews or the creation of original visuals. These updates will apply to news stories published in English to start.

Update on November 21, 2020 at 10:15AM PT: To help you discover credible and informative news, we are now prioritizing original reporting and transparent authorship in the news content we suggest to you in News Feed. Our Recommendation Guidelines further explain what content is eligible to appear in recommendations.

Originally published on June 30, 2020 at 7:00AM PT: 

When we ask people what kind of news they want to see on Facebook, they continually tell us they want news stories that are credible and informative. Today, we’re updating the way news stories are ranked in News Feed to prioritize original reporting and stories with transparent authorship. These signals are based on user research and were built with feedback from news publishers and academic experts. They will only apply to news content.

Original News Content

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. This important journalism takes time and expertise, and we want to ensure that it’s prioritized on Facebook.

We will now prioritize articles in News Feed that we identify as original reporting on a developing story or topic. We do this by looking at groups of articles on a particular story topic and identifying the ones most often cited as the original source. We’ll start by identifying original reporting in English language news and will do the same for news in other languages in the future. 

Most of the news stories people see in News Feed are from sources they or their friends follow, and that won’t change. When multiple stories are shared by publishers and are available in a person’s News Feed, we will boost the more original one which will help it get more distribution. Defining original reporting and the standards for it are complex, so we will continue to work with publishers and academics to refine this approach over time. 

Transparent Authorship

We are also starting to demote news content that does not have transparent information about the publisher’s editorial staff. We will review news articles for bylines or a staff page on the publisher’s website that lists the first and last names of reporters or other editorial staff. We’ve found that publishers who do not include this information often lack credibility to readers and produce content with clickbait or ad farms, all content people tell us they don’t want to see on Facebook. 

Editorial transparency is a professional standard supported by organizations like the Trust Project, SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, Global Forum for Media Development, and Reporters Without Borders’ Journalism Trust Initiative. We consulted with these organizations, in addition to more than 20 other global media experts, to develop these standards. We recognize that in some areas, transparency can put journalists at risk so we are only doing this in limited markets to start, taking into account the press environment in which publishers operate. 

How Will These Changes Impact Publishers’ Content?

Original news and reporting may see an increase in distribution as a result of these changes, but it’s important to remember that News Feed uses a variety of ranking signals to prioritize content. You can learn more about how we rank publisher content in News Feed here. We anticipate most news publishers won’t see significant changes to their distribution in News Feed as a result of these updates. 


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