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Facebook to try limiting political content users see in news feeds

By Jean Lotus
Facebook to try limiting political content users see in news feeds
The change comes after complaints from some users of the social platform about the amount of political content they're seeing in their news feeds. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Facebook said Wednesday that it will begin testing a change that limits the amount of political content users see in their news feeds, first starting with users in international markets.

The social media company wrote in a blog post that it will temporarily reduce "distribution of political content" for a test group in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week and expects to expand the group to include the United States in the coming weeks.

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Facebook said its algorithms will "rank" political content in feeds to help determine its approach to the issue going forward.

"It's important to note that we're not removing political content from Facebook altogether," the blog post states.

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"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."

The company says data indicates that just 6% of U.S. Facebook content could be categorized as political.

Facebook says it plans to keep refining the model during the test period to better identify political content.

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Users have complained in the past about politics dominating their news feeds, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

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"One of the top pieces of feedback we're hearing from our community right now is that people don't want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services," he said last month on a call with investors.

Facebook halted political advertising on the platform shortly before last November's presidential election and paused political contributions after the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

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The policies don't apply to COVID-19 information from official sources like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zuckerberg said last month that Facebook will still allow political groups and discussions.

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