Facebook's new media guidelines are focused on stopping fake news

It tweaked News Feed's algorithm to better detect false info.

Facebook came under fire after it admitted that it published 3,000 Russian-linked advertisements designed to influence the US Presidential Election. Those ads pointed to Pages that trafficked in fake news, which has been one of the social network's biggest problems for quite a while. Now, the company has listed a new set of guidelines for publishers/media organizations meant to combat false info from being spread on the platform. Those guidelines come with actionable strategies they can follow to avoid being flagged, as Facebook continues to tweak News Feed's algorithm to be better at burying fake information.

The three new Facebook Publisher Principles are as follows:

  • People on Facebook value meaningful, informative stories.

  • People on Facebook value accurate, authentic content.

  • People on Facebook value standards for safe, respectful behavior.

As part of the second principle, the social network warns that it has added "universal signals" that improve the News Feed algorithm's ability to spot fake news. It will now keep an eye out for clickbait headlines, such as ones that tease a piece of info without revealing it ("You'll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet...") or misleading ones meant to sensationalize a piece of information ("Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!"). The website won't give publishers points for linking to low-quality websites with little content and lots of ads as well.

Facebook is making it "as difficult as possible for those posting false news to buy ads" by using machine learning to detect purchases by spam accounts. It recently disabled non-Publisher Pages' ability to edit their posts' metadata to prevent cloaking, or the redirecting of users to websites that don't lead to what they originally expected to visit. Now, it will also give Pages that cloak their posts very low scores, so they won't appear on people's News Feeds.

The company is also taking this chance to remind publishers what they can and can't post in an effort to squash abusive content on the platform. Facebook stresses that it will remove posts that contain sexual activity, those that incite violence, bullying or harassment, hate speech and other graphic content.

Facebook explains:

"The News Feed Publisher Guidelines are designed to provide an overview of News Feed: how it works, the values it operates by, the policies Facebook enforces, the signals we look for when ranking stories, and the storytelling tools Facebook offers to help your content reach the right audience. We'll go through our content guidelines, quality guidelines, and community standards to aid your efforts to find and engage your audience on News Feed. We outline actionable strategies and three publisher principles for News Feed with tips, including what to do and not to do to best follow those principles when creating and posting content on Facebook. For the most updated version of the News Feed Publisher Guidelines, please visit Facebook's Media and Publisher Help Center."