Facebook allegedly made a change in its News Feed algorithm immediately after the US presidential election, to favor top news publishers so that trustworthy and quality content can be pushed ahead on its platform, The New York Times reported.
The social network reportedly tweaked how much weight the News Feed gives to its internal "news ecosystem quality" metric. The change was part of the "break glass plans" Facebook had developed for the aftermath of a contested election where Donald Trump kept calling the results stolen and rigged.
"It resulted in a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR, while posts from highly engaged hyperpartisan pages, such as Breitbart and Occupy Democrats, became less visible," the report said on Tuesday, citing sources.
The "news ecosystem quality" score (NEQ) is an internal ranking Facebook assigns to news publishers based on signals about the quality of their journalism. "Several days after the election, Mr. (Mark) Zuckerberg agreed to increase the weight that Facebook's algorithm gave to NEQ scores to make sure authoritative news appeared more prominently".
According to a Facebook spokesperson, there are many variables at play in every product decision it makes. "The assertions in this report are based on sources who have no product decision-making authority and are advancing their own narrow impression of how our process works," the spokesperson told The Verge in a statement.
According to the NYT report, some Facebook employees now want this News Feed change to become permanent to allow more quality content on the platform.