Facebook recently announced that Facebook News, a tab dedicated to top news stories from major publishers, is releasing to a select number of U.S. users. Unlike news stories in your regular News Feed, articles in Facebook News will be curated by an editorially-independent team instead of hype-affected AI. And unlike previous attempts at supporting journalism, Facebook will be paying some (but not all) publishers in multi-year contracts. Per The Verge, these publishers must also qualify by having a “sufficiently large audience” and are banned from posting “misinformation, hate speech, or [sharing other content that violates] Facebook’s community standards.”
This move raises a few interesting questions:
1. Which publishers will ultimately qualify under their standards, and will users agree with Facebook’s choices?
2. If transparency is truly important moving forward, then will Facebook eventually release a full list of its participating publishers?
3. Will content curation be based solely on a user’s behavior, or will some favorable placement be given to select partners regardless of a person’s content preferences?
4. From a paid media perspective, will Facebook sell this inventory separately at a premium, or simply lump it in to what’s currently available? And what impact will the News Feed have on Facebook’s audience size and engagement levels?
5. This effort is clearly aimed at countering Twitter’s recent upgrades to its news-serving capabilities. Will this effort steal share from Twitter and put Facebook on track to win back its status as a primary source for news among social platforms?
- Fun fact: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is already fired up, and just announced Twitter will ban all political ads from its platform starting Nov. 22. #Clapback
Given Facebook’s recent controversy surrounding political campaigns and its murky answers for how it will effectively police misinformation, it remains to be seen if Facebook News will become a trusted source with users. If it does, it could represent a major win for the social channel along with news publishers looking for extra revenue.
KSM will be watching these developments closely to determine how they may alter the social landscape in the coming year.
And to read more about this announcement, click here.