Facebook is finally introducing something for the interest of the journalists, who have so far been ignored by the platform. The company has reported the roll out of Facebook News as a test in United States. The feature will be prominent at the home screen of the app and in the bookmark section of the Facebook app beginning today.
Facebook’s Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships and Mona Sarantakos Product Manager, news, stated in a blog post that news articles will still appear in the he main News Feed, but, the inclusion of tab dedicated to journalism will:
Give people more control over the stories they see, and the ability to explore a wider range of their news interests, directly within the Facebook app.
Brown and Sarantakos further stated that the News tab has been developed based on brainstorming with the publishers along with the survey results obtained from 100,000 Facebook users in the United States.
Facebook will utilize both human editors and algorithms to pop the stories on users feed. The app will feature a section called Today’s Stories, which will cover the biggest national headlines of the day. These stories will be created by a team of journalists.
Meanwhile, Facebook will also use algorithms to present the users with the stories of their interest. Users will be able to hide articles and publishers which don’t serve their interest, and will be able to browse to various news sections like sports, business, health, entertainment and technology.
Brown and Sarantakos wrote;
Regarding personalization, publishers worry that machine learning has limits and they’re right. We have progress to make before we can rely on technology alone to provide a quality news destination.
For the users who link their news subscriptions to their Facebook accounts will be able to view the news through these subscriptions.
For a publisher to be included with the service, they must be part of Facebook’s News Page Index and need to abide by Facebook’s Publisher Guidelines, which shuns misinformation and hate speech. Though the list of the publishers have not been released, a screenshots of the News section has shown to include stories from The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, Bloomberg, Fox Business, Business Insider, NPR with others.
A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch:
To ensure we’re including a range of topic areas, we’ll start by paying a subset of publishers who can provide a steady volume of fact-based and original content.
BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief, Ben Smith said;
Facebook is taking the lead in recognizing the value news provides to these platforms in a tangible way.
Hillary Manning, the Los Angeles Times’ vice president of communications, said;
We anticipate that we’ll reach new readers through Facebook News and, as we reach more readers, we expect to see more growth in our digital subscriber base.