Facebook’s long-awaited move to weed out ‘untrustworthy’ sources from its news feed has arrived, in the form of a dinky survey spanning a mere two questions.
Users will first be asked a straight yes or no question as to whether they recognise a set of websites. Thereafter users will be asked to what extent they trust each of the presented domains on a sliding scale from ‘entirely’, through ‘a lot’, ‘somewhat’ and ‘barely’ to ‘not at all’.
The brief poser was dreamed up internally as a means of overhauling the social networks much criticised news feed, which has taken a battering from scandals ranging from accusations of Russian election meddling to fake news and the propagation of negativity.
Whether or not this two-part questionnaire will do the trick is open to doubt with publishers already up in arms at having their fate decided by a scant survey put in the hands of the same people who have been happily spreading fake news on the platform.
Explaining the thought processes behind the new measure Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote last week: “The idea is that some news organizations are only trusted by their readers or watchers, and others are broadly trusted across society even by those who don't follow them directly.
“This update will not change the amount of news you see on Facebook. It will only shift the balance of news you see towards sources that are determined to be trusted by the community.”
Needless to say any publisher falling foul of the mob is likely to see their traffic take a sizeable hit.
Zuckerberg has set himself the not inconsiderable task of resolving Facebook's mounting pile of problems over the coming year.