Technology

Facebook's fake news survey criticised for containing only two questions

The company is trying to establish trustworthy news sources on the site.

The head of Facebook’s news feed has defended its survey on reliable news sources, after it was criticised for containing only two questions.

The media site said last week it was changing the way it showed articles from publishers, by prioritising sources that surveyed users in the US ranked as trustworthy.

However the survey being used is found to consist of just two questions – which led some to raise concern over the ability of the project to have an impact.

The survey first asked users if they recognised a website, and then asked them to rank a series of sites based on how much they trusted them.

Responding on Twitter after Buzzfeed revealed the contents of the survey, Adam Mosseri, the head of the news feed, said “meaningful patterns” could still be found from a broad survey.

“I understand that some people may balk at how simple a survey is, but complicated surveys can be confusing and bias signal, and meaningful patterns can emerge from broad surveys,” he tweeted.

In response to other tweets on the issue, Mosseri also said it would use other data beyond the survey as part of its work.

“Trust is one among many signals, but only applies for publishers for which we have enough data, so it doesn’t yet effect most publishers,” he said.

At the beginning of the year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his aim was to “fix” the social network, with a focus on abuse and misinformation on the platform.

As part of this plan, the company has already announced a scheme to cut down on the amount of “public content” such as news, videos and posts from brands that appears in news feeds.

Zuckerberg said this was to encourage more “meaningful social interactions” on the platform.

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