Facebook Announces Program to Help News Sites
Facebook announced a new feature called Facebook News. Facebook News was created in partnership with the journalism industry. Given Facebook’s popularity, Facebook News may become a significant source of audience growth for publishers.
Facebook News Has Five Features
Facebook will make the news accessible via a News tab. Within this tab users will be able access news through four features and be able to personalize the news with a fifth Facebook News feature.
One of the features is the “Today’s Stories” section that highlights the top stories of the day. Journalists didn’t trust Facebook’s algorithms to select the news of the day. So the top featured news will be manually curated by a dedicated team of journalists.
Facebook will also make it easier for users who pay for subscriptions to be able to access their news straight from Facebook.
What Kinds of News Publishers Will be Shown?
Facebook News has created four categories of publishers:
- General News
- Topical News
- Diverse News
- Local News
are publishers who address the wide range of news from sports, politics, etc.
are publishers that are specific to a vertical. Users will have access to news verticals such as science, sports, entertainment and receive news specific to those verticals.
This category provides news along racial and ethnic divisions. Diversity means more than just ethnicity and skin color.
Curiously, Facebook excludes LGBT news. Perhaps they are following Google’s lead in excluding sexual orientation but it seems odd to exclude what is generally estimated to be 4.5% of the population and higher.
Not only does Facebook exclude LGBT news, Facebook has come under fire for including Breitbart, an organization tat is reported by The Guardian to promote “extreme rightwing narratives and conspiracy theories.
Which Publishers are Eligible for Facebook News
Facebook has guidelines for inclusion https://www.facebook.com/help/publisher/270254993785210 In addition to these guidelines Facebook requires publishers to not violate community standards like clickbait, scraped content and misinformation.
Local News on Facebook
Facebook will begin with a test group of local news providers in ten areas.
The initial ten cities included in Facebook Local News are:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- Dallas-Fort Worth
- Washington DC
Facebook local news will eventually expand to over 6,000 cities U.S. towns and cities.
Facebook News represents an opportunity to grow their audience from a brand new source. It allows news organizations to obtain subscribers and maintain that subscription model on Facebook. Facebook News, developed in consultation with the news industry, appears to be a balanced approach between the needs of journalism and those who wish to read news.