Facebook begins tests to reduce political posts in News Feed

(IANS) Facebook on Wednesday announced to temporarily reduce political content in News Feed for a small percentage of people in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week, and the US in the coming weeks.

Facebook said that it took this step because people don’t want political content to take over their News Feed.

“During these initial tests, we’ll explore a variety of ways to rank political content in people’s feeds using different signals, and then decide on the approaches we’ll use going forward,” said Aastha Gupta, Product Management Director.

She said that Covid-19 information from authoritative health organisations like the CDC and WHO, as well as national and regional health agencies and services from affected countries, will be exempt from these tests.

“Content from official government agencies and services will also be exempt”.

In October last year, the social network said it would temporarily stop recommending civic and political groups to users in the US.

Last month, Facebook said that change would become permanent.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the aim is to “turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations and communities.”

Gupta said that Facebook will survey people about their experience during these tests.

“It’s important to note that we’re not removing political content from Facebook altogether. Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to find and interact with political content on Facebook, while respecting each person’s appetite for it at the top of their News Feed”.

Facebook currently offers controls to help users manage what they see in News Feed, such as tools like Favourites which lets them select people and pages they want to prioritiz=se in your News Feed; Snooze to temporarily hide posts from a person, page or group; and the ability to turn off political ads.

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