Facebook is rating users based on how “trustworthy” it thinks they are.
Users receive a score on a scale from zero to one that determines if they have a good or bad reputation – but it’s completely hidden.
The rating system was revealed in a report by the Washington Post – and later confirmed by Facebook to The Sun – which says it’s in place to “help identify malicious actors”.
Facebook tracks your behaviour across its site and uses that info to assign you a rating.
Tessa Lyons, who heads up Facebook’s fight against fake news, said: “One of the signals we use is how people interact with articles.
“For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true.”
Earlier this year, Facebook admitted it was rolling out trust ratings for media outlets.
This involved ranking news websites based on the quality of the news they were reporting.
User ratings are employed in a similar way – helping Facebook make a judgement about the quality of their post reports.
According to Lyons, a user’s rating “isn’t meant to be an absolute indicator of a person’s credibility”.
Instead, it’s intended as a measurement of working out how risky a user’s actions may be.
A Facebook spokesperson told The Sun: “The idea that we have a centralised ‘reputation’ score for people that use Facebook is just plain wrong and the headline in the Washington Post is misleading.
“What we’re actually doing: we developed a process to protect against people indiscriminately flagging news as fake and attempting to game the system.