January 11, 2017
Facebook wants to help ensure quality journalism is reaching its users.
To that end, the social networking firm has started the Journalism Project, a bid to have stronger relationships with trusted news organizations as well as doing more to manage the content posted on its site.
The goal? To eliminate fake or low quality news stories.
“We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, and as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive,” Facebook said in a blog post.
“That’s why today we’re announcing a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.”
The Facebook Journalism Project will have three main goals: collaborating to develop news products, training and tools to help journalists using Facebook and training and tools for members “so they can make smart choices about the news they read.”
Here’s a more in-depth look:
1. Collaborative development of news products
• New storytelling formats. Current formats such as Live, 360 and Instant Articles will be modified to better suit users needs and new formats will be built. “We’ve heard from editors that they want to be able to present packages of stories to their most engaged readers on Facebook,” Facebook explained. “We’re starting to work with several partners on how best to do this. We’re going to start testing this using Instant Articles, so that readers can start to see multiple stories at a time from their favorite news organizations.”
• Local news. Facebook plans to support local news and promote independent media. Still in the early stages; the firm plans to collect input from newsrooms and journalists before building any products.
• Emerging business models. Facebook is looking for ways to support its partners who wish to grow their subscription funnel. Its engineering team, in collaboration with the engineering team of the German news organization BILD, will launch a test to explore offering free trials to engaged readers, right from within Instant Articles. “This is the kind of work we want to do more of,” Facebook said. “We’ll also keep working on monetization options for partners, such as expanding our live ad break test to a wider group of partners, and exploring ad breaks in regular videos.”
Hackathons. Facebook engineers will host sessions with developers from news organizations to identify opportunities and hack solutions.
2. Training and Tools for Journalists
Training. Facebook is conducting a series of e-learning courses on Facebook products, tools and services for journalists. The courses will be offered in nine additional languages. Facebook is partnering with Poynter to launch a certificate curriculum for journalists in the months ahead.
Tools. The social media firm recently acquired CrowdTangle, a tool to surface stories, measure their social performance and identify influencers. It is now free for Facebook’s partners.
Helping with eyewitness media. Facebook is now a member of the First Draft Partner Network, a coalition of platforms and more than 80 publishers, that together provide “practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify and publish content sourced from the social web.” Facebook will help the coalition to establish a virtual verification community.
3. Training and Tools for Everyone
• Promoting news literacy. Facebook is teaming up with third-party organizations on how to promote news literacy both on and off its platform so its users can make decisions about which sources to trust. “Our longer-term goal is to support news organizations with projects and ideas aimed at improving news literacy, including financial grants where needed,” Facebook said.
• Continuing efforts to curb news hoaxes. “We recently announced improvements on our platform to further reduce the spread of news hoaxes — including ways for people to report them more easily and new efforts to disrupt the financial incentives for spammers,” Facebook said. In addition, we launched a program to work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles to identify hoaxes on Facebook. This problem is much bigger than any one platform, and it’s important for all of us to work together to minimize its reach.”
As various aspects of the project are completed, Facebook will post updates here.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.