Facebook's News Source Trustworthiness Survey Consists Of Just Two Questions

Over the weekend we talked about the Facebook plan to survey its users to find out what news outlets are the most reliable, so that it can show users more news from those "trustworthy" sources. Anyone with visions of an in-depth survey that really got to the core of trust issues with news sources will likely be disappointed in the Facebook survey.


There are only two questions, and BuzzFeed was able to obtain a copy of the survey:

Do you recognize the following websites

    • Yes
    • No

How much do you trust each of these domains?

    • Entirely
    • A lot
    • Somewhat
    • Barely
    • Not at all

A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed that this is, in fact, the survey the social network will be using. Facebook prepared the survey itself rather than having an outside company design the questions. Reports indicate that any Facebook users taking the survey who answers no to the first question will have their results tossed out of the ranking methods. The wording of the first question sounds as if multiple websites will be surveyed at the same time leading to the question of how the survey will work if you trust one of the publications listed, but not all. We will have to see the survey live to determine if this will be an issue.

The biggest challenge to Facebook's plans to use the community to choose what sources are trustworthy is that the Facebook masses have proven time and again that they will share bad stories from bad sources like wildfire and believe those fake stories. It also seems as though it would be easy for a group of users to band together and systematically push news sources that are trustworthy out of Facebook's feed simply because they don’t agree with the politics of the publication.

Consider liberal groups banning together to force conservative publications down in trustworthy rank, resulting in less of that publication's content being seen by users and less conservative ideals being read on the social network. The same could happen with conservatives systematically trying to rid newsfeeds of liberal publications by gaming survey results. Only time will tell how well Facebook's new plan to fight untrustworthy news sources fares. Publishers who rely on Facebook for traffic and the resulting revenue to operate their publications have a lot to lose based on a two-question survey.