Facebook begins rollout of ‘news tab’ in US

WASHINGTON: Facebook on Friday began rolling out its dedicated “news tab” with professionally produced content, the latest move by the social network to promote journalism and shed its reputation as a platform for misinformation.

The news tab, being tested with some US users, will be separate from user’s normal feeds and include articles from partner news organisations, with Facebook relying on both human curation and algorithmic “personalisation”.

Labelled Facebook News, the tab “gives 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”, said a Facebook statement.

The initiative is in line with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s call to promote “quality journalism” and help readers separate professional content from viral hoaxes.

“We talked to news organisations about what they’d like to see included in a news tab, how their stories should be presented and what analytics to provide,” Facebook vice president for news partnerships Campbell Brown and product manager Mona Sarantakos said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Zuckerberg pointed to a “big announcement” on news and journalism and indicated the new feature would highlight “high quality news, not just social content”.

Facebook is expected to pay some of the news organisations that will contribute but has yet to disclose full details.

The social network has partnered with some 200 news organisations including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CBS News, BuzzFeed, Fox News, the Boston Globe, Bloomberg and Vanity Fair.

Facebook said it would begin an initial test rollout which would “showcase local original reporting by surfacing local publications from the largest major metro areas across the country, beginning with New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta and Boston”. Facebook will use “algorithmic selection” for the majority of the articles but also “a curation team” of journalists which will select the articles for a section of “today’s stories”. Topic sections will include business, entertainment, health, science and technology, and sports.

 

[caption id="attachment_33354" align="alignnone" width="800"] NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about the new Facebook News feature at the Paley Center For Media on October 25, 2019 in New York City. Facebook News, which will appear in a new dedicated section on the Facebook app, will offer stories from a mix of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, as well as other digital-only outlets. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==[/caption]
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