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Facebook is expanding its plan to put less politics in the News Feed

Facebook is expanding its plan to put less politics in the News Feed

Facebook is expanding an experiment to reduce political content in the News Feed. In an update to its February blog post, the company says it has seen "positive results" in reducing this content for some users in a handful of countries. Now, it is expanding testing of the strategy to Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain and Ireland.

Axios explained Facebook's plans ahead of the announcement. As it notes, Facebook's new test also includes changing gestures when promoting content. "Some engagement signals can better indicate which posts people find more valuable than others," writes Aastha Gupta, director of product management. "Based on that feedback, we are gradually expanding some of the tests to place less emphasis on signals such as how likely someone is to comment on or share political content."

Conversely, Facebook will pay more attention to signals such as "how likely people are to negatively react to posts about political topics and current events." The company acknowledges that it could affect "public affairs content" and reduce traffic for news publishers, and plans a "gradual and systematic rollout" of these tests in the coming months.

Facebook launched politics-reduction testing for some users in Canada, Brazil, the US and Indonesia in February. It later announced that it would emphasize posts that were "inspirational and uplifting" and provide more opportunities for people to clearly indicate what they don't like — rather than have Facebook infer it from usage patterns. .

These changes come amid heated debate over what kinds of interactions matter most on Facebook. Commenting and sharing are some of the rare engagement signals that outsiders can measure, and they have highly indicated that political (and largely right-wing) content dominates people's conversations on the platform. But Facebook has dismissed this framing, saying that political content is tangential to most people's experience – and makes up only 6 percent of the general News Feed. Now, it's clearly trying to integrate that philosophy directly into the feed.

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