In a recent conversation with CEO of Axel Springer, Mathias Döpfner, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed his future plans in upgrading the news consumption experience on the platform. As we now live in a world where users admittedly prefer consuming their news through digital media as opposed to mainstream, traditional outlets, Facebook has suffered some criticism due to its unique algorithm. It’s not hard to notice that you’re served content that matches your active interests. You click-through to one video/article about Pit Bull breeds, and suddenly they’re flooding your main feed. (No complaints, though.)
However, this curated delivery of content creates what some people see as a biased approach in information distribution. “Fake news” no longer just refers to false coverage, but distinguishably opinionated news. Zuckerberg understands that Facebook is a platform where people come to connect—to receive updates from their friends, family, and colleagues. But he’s finding that more and more people are looking for Facebook to become a credible outlet for news consumption. In order to combat the algorithms nature, Zuckerberg proposed the idea of a dedicated news tab.
News Feed would work to serve accurate, quality information as a priority— in opposition to opinion-based journalism received through each user’s filtered interests. Zuckerberg has made it clear that News Feed coverage would feature only high-quality, trusted sources. This offers the average user an excellent dose of news diversity, if the tab truly does keep an objective approach. It differs in content published by similar outlets such as Buzzfeed News, who offer a mix of subjective and objective points-of-view. Maybe most importantly, it allows the Facebook community to consume the facts of daily news and determine their understandings on their own, solving Facebook’s issue with the scrutiny they’ve received.
Zuckerberg plans to work with Döpfner, as Axel Springer remains the largest digital publishing house of Europe in management of multiple multimedia news brands. Learning from the perspective of a news publisher, Zuckerberg is really showing some dedication to this project. Some of Döpfner first concerns? Maintaining publisher control over content and audience connection, and establishing fair shares of revenue.
Personally, I’m happy to see this effort take flight. I think it’s about time Facebook users turn from the influence they receive through their main feed filters, and start forming their own opinions without the fear of upsetting their friends and having a bad experience with the platform. This update not only solves an internal issue for Facebook as a common recipient of backlash, but an external issue that social media news consumers face daily.