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If you’re using Facebook to find your news, you’re going to be seeing less of us

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, speaks at a convention in San Francisco, April 30. Copyright 2018 New York Times

If you get your news using Facebook, you deserve to know that the social media platform is changing the way it delivers that information to you.

In a post Friday, Jan. 12, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is changing its news feed algorithm to reduce the amount of content you see from businesses, brands and media. You’ll see more stuff from your friends and family and less from pages you like and, most importantly, this news source.

This means that if you’re counting on Facebook to deliver news from this news outlet, or virtually any other news outlet, then you’re going to be seeing less of that.

Billions have flocked to Facebook as a catch-all for the internet at large, curating their likes to their interests and the information they wanted to see. We all did that, giving news outlets a “like” because we wanted them included in that mix.

But over the years, Facebook has changed the game – on you and us – by jiggering the algorithm it uses to serve you content on your Facebook feed, favoring content that keeps you inside their app longer, whether it’s fake or real or whatever.

Zuckerberg says they want Facebook to be a decent product that decent people, like you, want to use. A noble goal, but for them, that means engineering your attention, and they’ve determined that it’s easier to do that if you didn’t have to painfully thumb your way past city council meeting coverage or a high school sports score that you were asking to see when you liked this news outlet’s Facebook page.

Facebook took a look at their mountain of data and made that decision for you, replacing publisher content with something that evokes ever-more extreme emotions rather than serious interest in what is actually happening around you.

We’ve tried our best to keep up, continuing our goals of finding good, useful information about your community while also trying to make it as visible to you on Facebook as possible.

Of course, we have a financial interest in you seeing our stories online. We serve you ads that make us money, which we use to pay reporters and editors to go out and get you more stories. (You should note: They are not lavished with money to do this.) But a larger concern is that you’re going to be less involved in the information that makes this community operate. You’re going to know less about your schools, your local government and your taxes.

We understand where Facebook is coming from. They’re getting pressure from governments, companies and users to reduce the amount of fake news entering public discourse and they’re not quite sure how to handle it.

If you want to continue getting your news from Facebook, there are a couple things you can do. Visiting our Facebook page, rather than letting the News Feed serve our content to you, is a good way to keep up with us. You can also get notifications from Facebook when we post something. Also, our content is more visible the more people share and comment on it, so if it’s a story you care about it, please share it.

But there are also a zillion other ways you can get news from us. Visit our home page. Sign up for our email newsletter. Follow us on Twitter. Aim your Google or Apple News app our way. Sign up for an RSS feed.

Facebook wants to keep deciding for you what you see, so maybe it’s a good time to decide, for yourself, to get your news in a more reliable way.

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