• News

    Facebook News is challenging the news world.

Published October 29, 2019

The fact that news articles are circulating on Facebook is nothing new, although it has always been in the normal feed. Now Facebook is launching a new tab to collect news from all over the world. News will give people more control in what stories they see and also the ability to explore wider subjects that interests them, all within the same app. 

Facebook News will be launching the new tab in parts of the US to begin with and will offer following functions;

  • Today’s Stories

    General news that will change during the day to highlight the biggest events in the world. News will be chosen by journalists who work for Facebook and will be selected by different criterias to make sure the content is varied. 

  • Personal

    The content is personalized based on stories you previously read, liked or shared. It will on the other hand not affect what shows in the normal feed. 

  • Topics

    The news can be sorted in different topics such as business, entertainment, health, science & technology and sports. 

  • Subscriptions

    Connect other paid subscriptions to your Facebook account to read the news there. 

  • Control

    Control your feed and choose topics, articles och publicists to hide from the feed.

News categories

When Facebook developed the News tab it was important på have a variety of content and will sort articles in four different categories. 

  • General

    General news with a variety of subjects. 

  • Diverse

    Diverse news publishers focusing on the US defined ethnic groups. 

  • Topical

    Topical news within different subjects e.g. business, science and sports. 

  • Local news

    Local news publishers will be able to integrate articles in the tab to customize the content geographically. 

No more fake news

Publishers that want to be a part of the News tab will need to get verified by different guidelines to ensure Facebook that reliable and informative content will be published. The guidelines include that the page has existed for at least 90 days and linking to a webpage with a verified domain. It is allowed for publishers to post ads in the form of native and sponsored content as long as the news content is larger than paid and is clearly marked for the reader. 

By opening up the possibilities for publishers to register sites it will also open up for different angles on the news. Many of the major news outlets today have different angles of content, mainly political, and this forum can give a broader view of what is actually published and how it is presented.

Facebook has always been very clear regarding their views on freedom of speech and the importance of being able to express opinions although they are aware of the backside of this with dangerous content being spread quickly. Facebook has over 35,000 employes that scan content for prohibited material like terrorist propaganda and cyberhate to prevent it from showing on the platform. Nevertheless there is always the risk that fake news and incorrect information are slipping through the cracks. 

“But while we work hard to remove content that can cause real danger, I think we also need to be careful about adopting more and more rules that restrict the way that people can speak and what they can say.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is one of the social media platforms that will allow political ads in the upcoming US election 2020 and this will most likely be seen in the news tab. Either with actual ads or articles with a political messaging. They have gotten a lot of criticism for this decision considering how the 2016 election was influenced with ads from Russia amongst others and the Cambridge-Analytica scandal. 

Advertising in News?

Facebook has banned ads for the tab in the version that is being tested now but as mentioned before, publishers will be able to used sponsored material, referral links and Instant Article ads. If the News tab is well received with high engagement from the readers they will most likely open up for all advertisement. 

For advertisers that work a lot with Aftonbladet or other big news outlets this will open up new opportunities to be seen by relevant and valuable people rather than hoping that the target audience firstly visits the page and secondly actually sees the ads. Yet another way in working smarter with marketing to find the right audience and to process them in the funnel. When you also weigh in the fact that more than ⅓ of the Swedish population uses ad blockers in their browser facebook can really challenge the traditional media outlets. 

Now we just have to wait and see how the News tab i received by the test audience and when it will be launched in Sweden!

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