Facebook drops newsfeed experiment after it promoted fake news

Facebook drops newsfeed experiment after it promoted fake news
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Facebook is ending an experiment where it placed publisher's news content in a separate feed after criticism that it led to a rise in misinformation.

“In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family,” said Adam Mosseri, the head of News Feed at Facebook, in a statement Thursday announcing the decision.

"We also received feedback that we made it harder for people in the test countries to access important information, and that we didn’t communicate the test clearly," he added.

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The experiment, called Facebook Explore, was launched in six countries — Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Serbia — in October.

Facebook has been struggling with finding ways to prevent the spread of misinformation on its platform following the 2016 election.

The decision to end the test comes two weeks after special council Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE indicted 13 Russians and three companies for interfering in the election.

The indictment mentioned Facebook and Instagram 41 times, underscoring how heavily the Russian effort relied on social media to promote incorrect news and divisive content. 

In 2017, it was discovered that a Russian troll farm purchased $100,000 in political advertisements on Facebook running up to the election. The company informed Congress that the ads potentially reached 126 million American users.