What has happened?

On Friday Facebook announced it had begun testing Facebook News in major cities in the US. The new section within their mobile app was created with the purpose of being the “dedicated place for news on Facebook” from 200 publishers who will gain financially from this partnership. Content will appear based on a contribution from algorithms and human editors. Editors will pick top stories each day, while users will also see algorithm recommended stories based on their known behaviour on Facebook.

The Media Store Take

Facebook News has been well received by publishers for obvious reasons. It has been positioned to promote high-quality journalism over “fake news” and it provides a revenue stream to publishers who have complained that Facebook profits from journalism without paying for it. All in all, supporting an industry that has been struggling for years.

Aside from a publisher’s point of view, this new feature will probably spark mixed reactions from users and other organisations. It could be looked upon as a positive step in building back trust in the platform by collaborating with reputable news sources. Conversely, it could be viewed as an algorithm-based, personalised approach that has the potential to give Facebook too much control on news delivery and more powerful data collection.

Stephen Coghlan