Facebook on Tuesday confirmed plans for a News Tab that will be edited by seasoned journalists, in a departure from its longstanding practise of letting algorithms dictate a user’s experience.
A human team will select relevant, reliable breaking and top news stories. Other sections of the tab will rely on algorithms to figure out a user’s interests based on “signals” such as pages followed, interactions with online news or subscriptions to publications.
Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted “to make sure that to the extent that we can, we’re funding as much high-quality journalism as possible.”
“Our goal with the News Tab is to provide a personalized, highly relevant experience for people,” Facebook head of news partnerships Campbell Brown told AFP.
“For the Top News section of the tab we’re pulling together a small team of journalists to ensure we’re highlighting the right stories.” However, the majority of stories people see will be determined by software, according to Brown.
The tab would be separate from the trademark news feed at Facebook that displays updates and content from people’s friends. Facebook Watch already allows users to peruse news shows funded by the social network and other on-demand online content.
Facebook Watch already allows users to peruse news shows funded by the social network and other on-demand online content.
California-based Facebook has launched an array of initiatives to support or bolster journalism in recent years as social media has been under intense pressure to avoid becoming a tool to spread misinformation.
“Working with news industry to get Facebook’s News Tab right is our goal and focus this year,” Brown said earlier this month in a tweet. “Still early days but we are getting tremendous partner feedback on the product. I believe we can provide people on Facebook a better news experience.”
Facebook will reportedly pay some publishers to license news content for the tab.
Earlier this year Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted “to make sure that to the extent that we can, we’re funding as much high-quality journalism as possible.”
AFP with additional input from GVS News Desk.