The change, which Facebook announced in a blog post Wednesday, will affect a small number of users in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia this week, with further tests beginning in the U.S. in the coming weeks.
Facebook plans to experiment with how it ranks political content in News Feed and survey these users about their experiences during the tests. "Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to find and interact with political content on Facebook, while respecting each person's appetite for it at the top of their News Feed," Aastha Gupta, Facebook's product manager, wrote in the post.
Gupta said Facebook won't include posts from government agencies or COVID-19 information from "authoritative health organizations" in the tests.
The announcement follows Facebook's recent earnings call, in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that changes were coming to "turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations and communities." Among those changes: Zuckerberg said Facebook would continue to keep political groups out of its recommendations, a policy it put in place before the U.S. election (though some groups have slipped through the cracks). "One of the top pieces of feedback we're hearing from our community right now is that people don't want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services," Zuckerberg said on the call.
Earlier this week, Facebook also announced that it would be removing all misinformation related to vaccines.