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Knight Center


Facebook launches new service to publish newsworthy content from social media

With more than one billion people using its platform to share photos, videos and news updates, Facebook decided to aggregate newsworthy content and publish it in a new resource called FB Newswire, designed to help journalists and newsrooms find news on social media more easily, the company announced on April 24 in their Newsroom blog.

“News is finding a bigger audience on Facebook than ever before,” said Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s director of news and global media partnerships, in the announcement. “We’re excited to deepen our relationship with media organizations and journalists in the days to come.”

FB Newswire gathers video, photos, status updates and other content on their Facebook page, sharing hashtags that can be used to keep track of each topic and crediting the original person or organization that shared the news. Facebook also created a Twitter account for its new service (@FBNewswire). In the 24 hours since they were launched, both outlets have already shared dozens of stories and garnered more than 30,000 likes and 13,000 followers.

Facebook’s new resource will be managed by Storyful, an agency that verifies news content shared over social media and delivers the content to news organizations and brands. The company will use an algorithm to find breaking news or popular stories on different topics and then have a team of journalists verify the information, according to the website Mashable.

The newsfeeds are part of an effort by Facebook to market itself as a news-gathering tool for journalists, said the Nieman Journalism Lab. Many journalists look for user-generated content in Twitter and YouTube first because Facebook’s privacy settings make a large number of posts inaccessible. However, more than 2.64 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute, a fact the company wants to emphasize.

In the past year, Facebook tried to market its newsworthy content with several changes, which included updated News Feed and search algorithms, a list of trending topics that showed what people are reading, the ability to use hashtags to track content on Facebook, and the mobile application Paper, dedicated to sharing stories gathered from the social network. Although Facebook also owns the photo-sharing network Instagram, it will only share content from its main platform for the time being.

In an interview with Mashable, Storyful’s managing editor Aine Kerr said FB Newswire would share stories from different countries and in languages other than English as well, though all captions would be in English. Unlike the News Feed, this new resource will not focus on providing personalized news but instead on sharing general news from all over the world.

Facebook’s Andy Mitchell said FB Newswire was not intended as an attack on Twitter and considered both services to be complimentary.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure journalists have as many choices [and] first-person content as possible so they can tell the most complete story they can,” Mitchell said.


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