Facebook wants to cut down political content from users’ News Feeds. The social media giant said that it is now testing a “less political” feed on 75 other countries. The modified iteration of the News Feed was first available in the U.S, Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia. The company is now expanding this program to cover more regions.
With this expansion, Facebook’s new News Feed is now available in over 80 countries. Although Facebook didn’t specify the countries getting the revamped News Feed as part of this update, it said that the feature is rolling out to a handful of people in each region.
“We are expanding the political content ranking tests to more countries around the world. 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 said in a note (via).
Facebook will not roll out the remodeled News Feed in regions with elections and conflicts
Notably, the company clarified that this feature isn’t rolling out to countries that have an election coming up. Moreover, countries that are “at higher risk of conflict” will not see the feature either. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first announced the decision to depoliticize its News Feed feature after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Facebook wants these tests to determine how it can bring down hostilities among users on its platforms. Previously, the company has faced accusations of promoting anger among users to increase engagement with the platform. It’s clear that Facebook wants to change that image going forward.
Meanwhile, a recent report indicated that Facebook is slowing down product development in order to have “reputational reviews.”
“I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what’s right and delivering experiences that improve people’s lives, it will be better for our community and our business, “Zuckerberg said at the time.
This came after damning revelations made by whistleblower Frances Haugen. In her Senate testimony, Haugen demanded Facebook to be more transparent about its research while urging lawmakers to chart out new regulations addressing the concerns.
Separately, another report highlighted the negative impact of Instagram on teen mental health. Expectedly, Facebook defended itself against these allegations by referencing a Harvard survey and several interviews. This led to Facebook pausing its Instagram app for Kids. Lawmakers demanded more, however, asking the company to completely ditch those plans.