Facebook has recently uncovered a “bug” in its News Feed ranking algorithm, causing certain harmful content to be injected at an increased rate into users’ News Feeds. This issue was present between last October and March. - The Verge reported.
Facebook has found an issue affecting the algorithm for their News Feed that meant debunked misinformation kept appearing. They tried to down-rank the problematic content and cut it from the feed, but it continued to rise by up to 30%, while other content that was supposed to be demoted was not.
Facebook said in a statement to The Verge, “Meta detected inconsistencies in downranking on five separate occasions, which correlated with small, temporary increases to internal metrics… We traced the root cause to a software bug and applied needed fixes.” Facebook said it “has not had any meaningful, long-term impact on our metrics.”
According to the internal document received by The Verge state, the technical issue was first introduced in 2019 but didn’t create a noticeable impact until October 2021. The problem was classified as a 'severe' vulnerability in October and it went unfixed for several months because engineers were unable to find the root cause.
News Feed is one of the important parts of Facebook. It's a list of stories and videos from friends, family, and pages that users have liked or followed that are posted in reverse chronological order. With such a large number of monthly active users, it is no surprise that the bug in Facebook's News Feed affected billions of people. Facebook didn't intend for people to see this content, but they were exposed to it anyway.