The experiment will be expanded to four additional countries.
Facebook has expanded its experiment to reduce political content in the News Feed. In an update to a February blog post, the company says it’s seen “positive results” in reducing this content for some users in a handful of countries. It’s now expanding the test to include Spain, Ireland, Costa Rica, and Sweden.
Axios reported on Facebook’s plans before the announcement. It also notes that Facebook’s new test involves changing how it promotes content. Aastha, product manager, writes that “some engagement signals can better indicate which posts people find more valuable than other posts.” We’re expanding our tests to take less importance on signals like how likely someone is, based on this feedback, to share or comment on political content.
THE TESTS WON’T IMPACT MORE ON THE VALUES OF COMMENTING and SHARING.
Facebook will instead consider signals such as “how likely people to give us negative feedback on posts regarding political topics” and “how likely they are to do so,” and is planning to roll out these tests in a “gradual, methodical” manner over the next few months.
Facebook started its politics-reduction tests in February for some users in Canada, Brazil, the US, and Indonesia. It later announced that it would emphasize “inspiring and uplifting” posts and provide more avenues for people to explicitly indicate what they don’t like — rather than having Facebook infer it from their usage patterns.
These changes are occurring amid heated debate about what types of interactions on Facebook matter most. Commenting and sharing are some of the rare engagement signals that outsiders can measure, and they’ve overwhelmingly indicated that political (and largely right-wing) content dominates people’s interactions on the platform. But Facebook has rejected this framing, saying political content is tangential to most people’s experience — and only makes up 6 percent of the typical news feed. It seems to be trying to incorporate that philosophy into its meal.