Facebook's News Tab curators told not to censor news about the company

According to 'The Information,' Facebook shared its News Tab curator guidelines in an internal memo.

Updated ·1 min read

Facebook confirmed in August that it's using a small team of journalists to pick the top stories for its upcoming News Tab section. Now, The Information has revealed more details about the guidelines those editors have to follow. The publication says Facebook sent employees an internal memo containing its guidelines for curators, including prioritizing pieces with on-the-record sources over those with anonymous ones.

The team will prioritize the media outlets that report a particular news story first, and it'll also give the highest priority to local outlets for local news. However, members can't highlight anything until two publications have published pieces on the same story if it's based on an "unsubstantiated report." They're also instructed not to feature stories meant to "provoke, divide and polarize" unless they're "fact-based stories that rely upon journalistic standards."

While no piece that uses a headline with profanities and obscenities will be featured, Facebook aims to show a "diversity of voices" by featuring a range of topics and publishers. The social network reportedly also clarified in the memo that it will instruct the curators not to censor bad news about the company itself and to "impartially share stories about Facebook, Facebook executives and tech at large."

Whether using journalists is better than using algorithms to keep the News Tab's top stories updated remains to be seen. Facebook had been accused of showing political bias -- which makes the use of human curators a cause for concern for some -- and having faulty algorithms in the past. You might be able to decide for yourself soon enough: the company is reportedly scheduled to roll the feature out in October.

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