Facebook’s News Feed VP On Clickbait, Fake News & His “Good” Talk With News Corp

Facebook’s News Feed VP On Clickbait, Fake News & His “Good” Talk With News Corp

B&T was lucky enough to be invited along to a Facebook media briefing last week with its vice president of News Feed, Adam Mosseri (pictured above), where he shared the social media giant’s blueprint in support of journalism and news publishers, and reflected on his conversation with News Corp around a potential subscription deal.

According to Mosseri, Facebook has three key themes for News Feed this year – discovery, integrity and partnership – that it hopes will strengthen journalism across the globe.


This theme is basically about helping Facebook users learn about new things they might not even know exist yet.

On top of its ‘Pages You Might Like’ feature, Mosseri revealed that Facebook is looking to introduce topic following.

“The idea here is that you could follow your favourite sports team as a topic, for example, and then we would go and try to find all of the most interesting stuff for you about the team, and that would show up in your News Feed,” he said.

“We think this could be valuable for you because you love your team and you want to see what’s going on, but also for publishers, because it could mean that more publishers get connected to audiences.”

Mosseri said Facebook will use a classification algorithm to achieve this, but will only launch the topic following feature if it’s incremental.

“This is of value, but if it only ends up just displacing something else in News Feed, then it’s not worth the complexity – we’re just making the system more complicated without creating incremental value for people,” he said.

Another idea that Facebook has subtly introduced to News Feed is Discovery Surface, which has an icon resembling a rocket ship.

“The idea is that is News Feed is a place where you catch up on all of these stories from your existing connections, then explore could be a space where you could learn about stuff from publishers that you’re not even connected to yet,” Mosseri said.


Facebook is also looking to raise the quality and authenticity of information that flows through its system through ways such as improved reporting – understanding what is problematic or ‘false’ news, for instance.

Mosseri said Facebook prefers to refer to ‘fake’ news as ‘false’ news “because we want to be really clear about what we mean, and fake news has been used by so many different people to mean so many different things”.

“For us, we man information that is designed to be confused with legitimate news but is intentionally false,” he said.

One of the most meaningful things Facebook has done to combat false news is in the area of landing page quality work, while protecting ad farms and valuing them way less in ranking, according to Mosseri.

“The most important thing we can do around false news, given that most of it’s financially motivated – at least on our platform – is to disrupt the economics,” he said.

“We organise our work in false news into three areas: the first is disrupting the incentive in the first place, trying to reduce it from ending up on our platform.

“The second is, given that some of it’s going to end up on the platform, better identifying it and reducing its spread through the ecosystem.

“The third area is around creating more discerning readers through education. We’re looking to create signals to help people make more informed decisions about what to read, what to trust, what to share.”

Facebook’s VP of News Feed also shared how the social media giant defines clickbait – “as headlines that withhold significant amounts of information and mislead the user”.

“We focus on really the egregious stuff, but the way it works is that it actually ends up being its own prediction,” he explained.

“So, we built an algorithm, [and] we built a training data set which has tens of thousands of examples in 13 different languages. We then train the algorithm based on that data set to try and figure out what are good signs of clickbait – certain phrasing, certain grammatical structures.

“Then what happens for any given headline is we don’t say, ‘This is clickbait, this is not’. We calculate the likelihood that it’s clickbait based on the data set that we have available, and the higher likelihood that it’s clickbait, the bigger the penalty. It’s not black and white.”


Facebook is also keen to become a better partner to the media industry, and in particular, the news sector.

It’s big areas of focus in this sector are to help news organisations “cut through the noise” by telling more compelling stories with new formats, and identifying opportunities to collaborate with regional publishers on local news/

“But if I’m honest, we don’t have the answers yet on local news,” Mosseri admitted.

“Local news is suffering more than national news, and we know that local news is the foundation in a lot of ways for local communities, so we’re trying to figure out how we can get involved and monetisation products – we’re exploring mid-roll ads on video, and we’re exploring subscriptions with a number of partners currently.

“I’m bullish about the ideas we currently have, but I also want to acknowledge that I think we’re behind and we need to move more quickly.

Mosseri’s Australian visit was primarily to meet with local news publishers about potential subscription deals, and said he had a “good conversation” with News Corp.

“There’s a lot of concern about a lot of things right now,” Mosseri said.

“We just trying to engage in this as best we can, but most of the conversations I’ve been in have been productive and comfortable.”

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller confirmed last month that the publishing giant had begun negotiations with Facebook and Google around fresh subscriptions to its online content and improved search results.

Please login with linkedin to comment

7-Eleven Adam Mosseri Advertising Standards Bureau affinity Facebook News Feed Fake News Online ads

Latest News

Study: 51% Of Aussie Professionals Don’t Feel Safe Returning To The Office
  • Uncategorised

Study: 51% Of Aussie Professionals Don’t Feel Safe Returning To The Office

Just over half (51 per cent) of professionals who have been working remotely do not yet feel safe and happy to return to their co-located workplace, according to a survey of more than 3,000 working professionals by recruiting experts Hays.  Of these, Western Australians are the most confident, with 73 per cent of those who […]

Bendigo TAFE And Kangan Institute Launch Latest Advertising Campaign – Our Heroes
  • Campaigns

Bendigo TAFE And Kangan Institute Launch Latest Advertising Campaign – Our Heroes

Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute have launched their latest advertising campaign titled, Our Heroes, which is a celebration of the role their students play in the community. “Within a few short years, our students are building our houses, nursing our sick, fixing our cars, caring for our children and pets, designing our clothes – all […]

Splendid Promotes Mel Johnstone To Partner And Expands To The UK
  • Advertising

Splendid Promotes Mel Johnstone To Partner And Expands To The UK

Following a period of sustained growth and client wins, B2B technology marketing consultancy, Splendid Suggestions, has laid some solid foundations to support the business through the next phase of growth.  Off the back of a number of organic referrals from Australian–based clients sharing success with global counterparts, Splendid has recently appointed London-based Jess Littlewood (right, pictured), to lead the UK business and grow the new regional team.   Of the appointment, Tim Sands, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Splendid says “Jess […]

TikTok Appoints VMG Digital As Global Creative Marketing Partner
  • Media

TikTok Appoints VMG Digital As Global Creative Marketing Partner

VMG Digital, which creates bespoke, mobile-first video creative, optimised for social media platforms, today announces it has been appointed as a global Creative Marketing Partner for the TikTok Marketing Partner Program. Since launch in August 2020, the TikTok Marketing Partner Program gives brand marketers access to tools to create, measure and optimise ad campaigns on […]

Mediasmiths Appoints Natalie Murray As New Senior Account Planner/Buyer
  • Advertising

Mediasmiths Appoints Natalie Murray As New Senior Account Planner/Buyer

Independent media agency MediaSmiths today announced the appointment of senior media executive and former insights lead for independent agencies and direct clients at Nova Entertainment, Natalie Murray, as a new Senior Account Planner/Buyer. Murray will be responsible for end-to-end management, planning and buying for several of the agency’s key clients, ensuring outcomes are delivered. She […]

Simply flat lay design winner or champion gold trophy cup isolated on pink pastel colorful background. Victory first place of competition. Winning or success concept. Top view copy space
  • Media

Playground xyz And Are Media Win Inaugural IAB MeasureUp Awards

IAB Australia today announced Playground xyz and Are Media (formerly Bauer Media) as the winners of its inaugural IAB Australia MeasureUp Awards. Selected by the members of the MFA Interactive Committee, the winners will present their research during the 4th Annual MeasureUp conference which begins today. Playground xyz was awarded Best Advertising Effectiveness for its […]

Stockland Partners With Jules Sebastian For Virtual Recipe Series
  • Marketing

Stockland Partners With Jules Sebastian For Virtual Recipe Series

Stockland has partnered with Sydney-based presenter, stylist and author Jules Sebastian on a six-part Instagram TV recipe series – with episodes released monthly – in an effort to inspire customers to create healthy, easy-to-make meals from their kitchens at home. The series kicked off this month with an online demonstration from Jules on making the […]

Asian Youth Culture Agency PUSH Opens Sydney Office
  • Advertising

Asian Youth Culture Agency PUSH Opens Sydney Office

The Shanghai-born and Australian-owned creative agency, PUSH announces today the launch of their fourth creative studio in Sydney, Australia. PUSH are the leaders of culture-shaping content with a focus on Asian youth culture, skateboarding, music, fashion and gaming.