Illuminated signage is displayed at the Facebook Inc. Hack Station in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photographer: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg)

Facebook Trustworthiness Ratings Boost `Fake News Award' Winner

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s plan to rank news sources by their trustworthiness boosted the shares of New York Times Co. -- one of the top winners in President Donald Trump’s “Fake News Awards.”

The publisher’s shares jumped 8.4 percent to $21.90, the highest price in more than a decade, after Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced the plan in a post Friday. The social network will survey users on whether they’re familiar with a news source and whether they trust the outlet, Zuckerberg said.

Notwithstanding the president’s animosity, the Times has been a beneficiary of the Trump presidency, with subscriptions up 60 percent in September from a year earlier to 2.5 million. Republicans took the newspaper to task this week in their list of reporting they considered inaccurate, criticizing columnist Paul Krugman’s predictions of economic catastrophe and a story that the administration had buried a report on climate change.

How the Times fares in Facebook’s ratings system will be a big test, since it’s one of the country’s most respected journalistic institutions and a lightning rod for conservatives who say it’s biased. Other news organizations will also have to sort out how Zuckerberg’s plan affects them.

“What we don’t know is how the proposed system to identify trusted news sources will really work,” said David Chavern, CEO of the NewsMedia Alliance, a group of about 2,000 organizations pressing for a larger share of the revenue their content generates on the social-media service. “We will be watching that very closely as the changes are rolled out.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.