“We will temporarily reduce the distribution of political content in News Feed for a small percentage of people in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week, and the US in the coming weeks,” Gupta said in a blog post.
The move is a part of a broader effort by the company to better understand users' different preferences for political content, Gupta said. In the coming weeks, the company will test "a number of approaches" and conduct surveys to gain more insight about users' preferences regarding political content.
“During these initial tests we will explore a variety of ways to rank political content in people’s feeds using different signals, and then decide on the approaches we’ll use going forward,” she said.
The new policy will exclude COVID-19 information from authoritative health institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from these tests. Content from official government agencies and services will also be exempt, Gupta added.
The company promises to keep some kinds of political content available on the platform. “It is important to note that we’re not removing political content from Facebook altogether,” Gupta said.
However, she noted that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that a common piece of feedback the company receives from users is that they do not want political posts "to take over" their news feeds.