Facebook To Begin Testing Reduced Political Content on News Feeds in Canada

Facebook will begin testing reduced political content on News Feeds starting this week.

Facebook is temporarily reducing the distribution of political content for some users, it said Wednesday, a move CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted at in last month’s earnings call.

The social networking giant announced in a blog post that as a “first step” it will experiment with ways to limit the reach of political content that appears on Facebook news feeds in Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia, with the US soon to follow.

Facebook Product Management Director Aastha Gupta says the company will explore ways of ranking political content in the News Feed, but also made it clear that this test won’t affect content from official government agencies, health agencies and COVID-19 information from trusted health organizations like the CDC and WHO.

“It’s important to note that we’re not removing political content from Facebook altogether,” Gupta said in the blog post. “Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to find and interact with political content on Facebook, while respecting each person’s appetite for it at the top of their News Feed.” She also notes that the company will survey users about their experience after having their political content reduced.

Facebook says only 6 percent of what people see on Facebook is political, but that it knows even a small amount of political content can impact a user’s experience. Facebook says it plans to share what it learns over testing and “the approaches that show the most promise.”