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Facebook announces News Feed guidelines for publishers

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In an attempt to provide more transparency on how Facebook’s News Feed ranks content, the company today announced a new set of guidelines for publishers.

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of the News Feed, said during an announcement at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism that the guidelines were meant to provide standards that were “more clear about what works and what doesn’t on our platform.”

The guidelines do not seem to include any substantive changes to Facebook’s policies for publishers, but put the current rules in one place. “We don’t want to say something that’s going to change over time,” Mosseri said. The guidelines centralize some of the advice Facebook has previously given, noting that the company demotes content it believes to be “clickbait,” for example, or that links to “low-quality” or “deceptive” web pages. The company says it uses similar signs, which it calls “signals,” to predict the likelihood a reader will want to spend time with the story.

The publisher guidelines also highlight some of the company’s policies around what types of content it allows, noting that “gratuitous” violence or hate speech are forbidden. Although it is not mentioned in the guidelines, Facebook announced in September that it would ban monetizing content that depicts violence and tragedy, even in the case of news.

During the announcement, Mosseri also addressed a controversial test Facebook was trying in six countries, which separated some News Feed content from publishers into a secondary feed, limiting readership. “I think we could have communicated it better,” Mosseri said, but added there are no plans to expand the test and the company would not “launch that as-is.”