Friday 25 October 2019 4:21 pm

Facebook announces launch of Facebook News

Facebook has announced the launch of Facebook News, a new platform that will highlight news based on how relevant it is to individual users.

In a blog post, Facebook’s vice president for global news partnerships said “Facebook News was built to bring people closer to the stories that affect their lives. We’ll continue to learn, listen and improve News as it rolls out more broadly. 

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“We hope this work aids in our effort to sustain great journalism and strengthen democracy.”

The new tab will be personalised to each reader, with topic sections such as business or entertainment for particular interests. Stories will be picked by a combination of algorithms and human curation.

The social network joins a growing number of tech giants, such as Google and Apple, that have launched news functions.

Readers will also be able to link their paid subscriptions to the platform, meaning they will be able to read content from inside the Facebook app.

Among the 200 publications that will be shown initially in Facebook News are The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Gannett’s USA Today, Buzzfeed, and NBCUniversal, which includes CNBC.

Some publications will be paid for use of their content, with amounts varying depending on the size and quality of their contribution. Outlets that don’t receive payments will be able to make money from advertising when Facebook features their stories.

It’s a considerable step for the company. In May 2018, chief executive Mark Zuckerburg said that he had no interest in paying for their stories.

Local focus:

The company has begun an initial test of the product in large metropolitan areas such as New York, LA, Chicago and Miami.

Local newspapers in these areas will get preferential treatment as Facebook continues its commitment to champion local reporting.

At the beginning of 2019, Facebook signed a partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists to fund 83 new reporter roles across the UK.

The move marks a revival of Facebook’s journalism function. In 2018, the company removed its much-criticised ‘Trending News’ section.

In 2016, claims emerged that the social media platform had suppressed certain articles through human editors.

Read more: Facebook vs Democracy: Let’s get serious about disinformation

It’s been a tough month for the social media giant. In recent weeks, the platform has come under fire from US Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren for refusing to fact-check political advertising.

On Monday Facebook announced it would clamp down on voter misinformation in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election.

Main image credit – Getty