May 13, 2016 Last Updated 2:29 pm

Facebook guidelines point to importance of 10 news websites for making trending decisions

Unless a news story appears to be leading on the ten websites Facebook considers important, a news item can never be consider a ‘Major Story’

Facebook is facing criticism for the way it decides what news it presents to its users. The Guardian reported yesterday that Facebook “relies on old-fashioned news values on top of its algorithms to determine what the hottest stories will be for the 1 billion people who visit the social network every day.

The Guardian was leaked a document used as a guide for determining the news value of stories.

FB-trending-review-guidelines-feature“You should mark a topic as ‘National Story’ importance if it is among the 1-3 top stories of the day,” the document read. “We measure this by checking if it is leading at least 5 of the following 10 news websites: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Yahoo News or Yahoo.”

So important are these ten sources that no “Major Story” can exist if it is not “leading in all 10 of hte above news websites,” Facebook’s guidelines state.

The Guardian must be happy they are one of the few included sources, but clearly those not included now know that there may be little reason to consider working with Facebook if their content might be ignored.

Facebook is facing criticism following a story in Gizmodo that the company’s news curators “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers,” an accusation made by a former journalist who worked at Facebook.

“Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module,” the Gizmodo story said.

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