Incident 164: Facebook "News Feed" Allegedly Boosted Misinformation and Violating Content Following Use of MSI Metric

Description: After the “News Feed” algorithm had been overhauled to boost engagement between friends and family in early 2018, its heavy weighting of re-shared content was alleged found by company researchers to have pushed content creators to reorient their posts towards outrage and sensationalism, causing a proliferation of misinformation, toxicity, and violent content.


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Alleged: Facebook developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed Facebook users and Facebook content creators.

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Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam
Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead. · 2021

In the fall of 2018, Jonah Peretti, chief executive of online publisher BuzzFeed, emailed a top official at Facebook Inc. The most divisive content that publishers produced was going viral on the platform, he said, creating an incentive to …


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.