Facebook is testing its 'less political' News Feed in 75 new countries

The company introduced the changes in the US in August.

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Karissa Bell
October 13, 2021 6:00 PM
In this article: news, gear, politics, news feed, facebook
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott
Erin Scott / Reuters

Facebook is slowly expanding its effort to weed out political content from News Feed. The company is now testing its “less political” feed in 75 new countries, Facebook said in an update.

The company has already introduced a version of the revamped News Feed in the United States, as well as Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia. But the latest update marks a significant expansion of the effort, and brings the total number of countries involved to more than 80. Facebook didn’t identify the latest countries to join the test, but a spokesperson confirmed the company is showing the News Feed changes to “a small percentage of people” in each country. The spokesperson added that countries with upcoming elections and those “at higher risk of conflict” are not included in the tests.

Mark Zuckerberg first announced plans to make News Feed less political in January, just weeks after the insurrection. “People don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience,” he said at the time.

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Rolling out the changes to more countries could help Facebook learn more about how to lower the temperature on its platform, which could be particularly useful as the company is accused of making its service angrier to boost engagement. At the same time, the company has acknowledged the changes could hurt publishers. “As we get more insights from these tests, we’ll share updates on what we’re learning and will continue to make changes accordingly,” Facebook wrote in an updated blog post.

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