Facebook is getting its own dedicated news tab later this week, apparently. The platform’s tricky relationship with news is now crystallizing into a partnership, in which Facebook will pay big publishers to post to the news tab.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased this new announcement during his tete-a-tete with Congress this week: “Later in this week we actually have a big announcement coming up on launching a big initiative around news and journalism where we’re partnering with a lot of folks to build a new product that’s supporting high-quality journalism.”
A report from the Washington Post confirms that a small team of humans will curate the top stories in the tab, while everything else will be selected by the algorithm, matching stories with user interests on various subjects. The first wave of participating news sources include WaPo itself, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, BuzzFeed News and local news sources.
The company’s history with news is a bit rocky — news was a major part of the News Feed (as the name might imply) until January 2018, when it tweaked the algorithm to prioritize friends and family. There’s also the site’s history of disseminating fake news. According to a Pew Study, over 60 percent of Americans believe social media has “too much control” over the news people see.
Apparently it’s aware that it’s not had the greatest track record — Campbell Brown, Facebook’s VP of global news partnerships, said on Twitter in August: “Working with the news industry to get Facebook’s News tab right is our goal and focus this year… I believe we can provide people on Facebook a better news experience.”
Facebook teased the news tab this August, when it said it would launch the feature before the end of the year. The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that it was offering major publishers up to $3 million to bring them onboard. There’s no word yet on how this will effect smaller news sources, and whether it’ll only ever be the major publications that receive direct compensation from Facebook.
The News Feed will allegedly be unveiled in a big event in New York City on Friday.