Facebook doubles the News tab for some media

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Facebook is looking to introduce more news products for its News tab in the coming months, including collections more organized around big events and breaking news, its vice president of global news partnerships told Axios, Campbell Brown.

Why is this important: The News tab, a separate destination for news on Facebook from publishers selected by the tech giant, has helped the company meet regulatory scrutiny that it is not doing enough to tackle disinformation.

  • When asked if the creation of the News tab two years ago was done to address regulatory concerns, Brown said: “I think it’s helpful to have a destination for the news. and that was certainly part of our motivation. “

Details: The News tab is available in the US, UK, Australia, and Germany, with other English speaking countries taken into consideration.

  • “I would love to take a big step in Latin America and learn Spanish in the United States as well,” Brown said. Brown noted that the regulatory climate in each country is taken into account when launching News Tab in new locations.

In numbers : According to new data provided to Axios, Facebook says that the News tab now contributes over 30% of the overall SEO traffic of Facebook news links for the US, UK and German publishers included in the tab.

  • Brown claims the majority (88%) of referral traffic for Facebook News publishers in the US, UK and Germany is from people who don’t already follow these pages, which is 1.8 times higher than the referral traffic rate that publishers can expect to get from Facebook’s news feed.

Publishers with whom Axios spoke say that Facebook News Tab has so far been a more reliable source of traffic than the news feed.

  • A BuzzFeed spokesperson said the company was “happy with the program” and confirmed it signed up for HuffPost to be part of its News Tab partnership earlier this year. “We appreciate that Facebook recognizes the value of quality journalism and pays to deliver it on its platform,” they said.

Yes, but: It’s unclear if and how Facebook will continue to fund publishers for their work.

  • “We are looking at what it looks like,” said a spokesperson. “We are looking at how the product has evolved since its launch and how partners have and have not benefited from it. We will take this into account to generate more mutually beneficial results for our users and partners as we move forward.

The big picture: For years, Facebook has hesitated to look into curating the news, with its COO Sheryl Sandberg saying in 2017 “we don’t hire journalists.”

  • But today, the company relies on people with editorial training to organize products in its News tab in addition to using algorithms.
  • Brown said it helped mend his relationship with editors who had previously felt a bait and changed by News Feed algorithm changes.
  • “Part of our intention when we launched Facebook News was to try to bring consistency and predictability to news publishers,” she said.

And after: The company tested new models of curation around big events such as the 9/11 anniversary and the Emmy Awards. It is also experimenting with new types of content for the News tab, such as local alerts, videos, quizzes, and cluster-based collections, to organized news centers.

  • Soon, it will start including content from its newsletter program editors in its news products under the News tab. Brown says Bulletin, which has more than 100 editors, will soon expand globally.


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