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On News Feed’s 10th birthday, I want to share some thoughts on the idea of a social feed and how it’s changed the way we see the world.
In many ways, social media is the most diverse form of media that has ever existed. Before the internet, most people got their news from only a handful of newspapers, TV and radio stations.
Different outlets made different editorial decisions, and it was easy to pick one you liked and stick with it. Now that’s changing. A study by the Pew Research Center this year showed that more than seven in ten adults get their news on mobile, and two out of three say family and friends are an important way they get news — including through social media.
That means more people are getting exposed to a larger and more diverse set of opinions.One of the things we’re really proud of at Facebook is that, whatever your political views, you probably have some friends who are in the other camp. You probably have some friends who practice different religions — or who come from different countries. In Europe, for example, the average person on Facebook has more than 50 friends from outside their own country.
That means whatever TV station you might watch or whatever newspaper you might read, on Facebook you’re hearing from a broader set of people than you would have otherwise. Last year, the American Press Institute found that seven out of ten millennials — the group that’s most likely to get their news online — said their social media feeds contained a mix of viewpoints similar to and different from their own. And three out of four said they investigated different opinions at least some of the time.
It’s not a perfect system. Research shows that we all have psychological bias that makes us tune out information that doesn’t fit with our model of the world.
It’s human nature to gravitate towards people who think like we do. But even if the majority of our friends have opinions similar to our own, with News Feed we have easier access to more news sources than we did before.
Still, we can help by doing a better job filtering out false information or clickbait. We’ve made some changes to the News Feed algorithm, and we’re constantly trying to get a better understanding of what our community finds valuable and what it doesn’t.
I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make Facebook a place for all ideas. Some of what we’re up against is human nature — biases that existed long before the internet. But by giving people access to more information and helping promote diversity and a plurality of opinions, we can build stronger communities.