After a prolonged testing phase, Facebook News has been made available to all of the US. The feature provides Facebook users with a separate section dedicated to journalism. Initially, the feature will be available as a bookmark through the app menu. Later, for those who regularly access the news tab, it will be available as a tab in the Facebook app.
According to the Pew Research Center, about 52% of U.S. adults consume news on Facebook . As so many Americans trust Facebook as a news source, the company extends its efforts to support journalism. Though the feature has been made available to the United States, it is not yet clear when it will be available to the rest of the world.
News from Facebook is now available on mobile and hasn’t launched for desktop as of now. Here are all details about Facebook News.
More about Facebook News
In addition to the feature launch in the US, a local news section has also been added. Facebook reached out to more than 200 local news outlets for Facebook News including The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed. In exchange for content from these trusted publishers, Facebook offered them up to $3 million as an annual licensing fee.
Previously, Facebook kept its users updated about local stories through “Today In” news feature as a separate tab. In the coming weeks, the company plans to combine the tab’s content with Facebook News so users can find national and local news in a single place.
To improve user’s news consumption experience, Facebook is now testing news videos.
Here’s a video from Facebook showing how to use the News feature
How Facebook News would be valuable to users
When the feature was first rolled out to limited users in the U.S. in October 2019, Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships, listed in a blog post how the News feature will be valuable to users. Here’s how the feature will be beneficial:
- Users can personalise read and share topics they find interesting. However, when it comes to personalisation, Campbell says that publishers are concerned that machine learning has limits
- Topic sections would also be available, such as science & tech, sports, business, entertainment and health, in case users wish to dig deep
- A separate section called “Your Subscriptions” will be available through which paid news subscriptions can be managed
- The feature will also have Controls to hide publishers, articles and topics the user doesn’t want to see
With Facebook News, the social network wants to give users more control over the stories they come across. It also wants to give them exposure to a wider range of news they are interested in within the Facebook app itself. The company says the feature is their effort of supporting great journalism and strengthening the democracy. Apart from this feature, Facebook has also started labelling state-controlled media on its platform as its election integrity efforts for better transparency.
 Shearer, E. and Grieco, E. (2019) “Americans Are Wary of the Role Social Media Sites Play in Delivering the News” Pew Research Center [Online] Available from: https://www.journalism.org/2019/10/02/americans-are-wary-of-the-role-social-media-sites-play-in-delivering-the-news/ [Accessed June 2020]
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