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Facebook Announces New Ways It Will Help Publishers and Journalists

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017 10.33 PM / SMW Staff

Through technology, programs, new tools, and partnerships, here is what Facebook announced as part of this new initiative called “The Facebook Journalism Project”

In a newly launched project called “The Facebook Journalism Project,” the announcement states a commitment to take proactive steps and ensure the news ecosystem and journalism can thrive in a Facebook-first world. Through technology, programs, new tools, and partnerships, here is what Facebook announced as part of this new initiative, and what publishers need to know.

Collaboration for news products
Facebook plans to deepen the levels of collaboration with news organizations in order to connect its product and engineering teams with publishers to build things from the ground up. This includes new storytelling formats based on the always evolving consumption patterns of users and consumers.

Of course, Facebook hopes Live, 360, and Instant Articles are part of that equation, but it also recognizes that consumers might require entirely new formats and methods for reading, watching, and sharing news across multiple devices.

One example Facebook mentions in the announcement is the ability for editors of publications and Facebook Pages to package stories together and deliver them to highly engaged readers. According to Facebook, “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
It’s in the early stages, but Facebook wants to support small, hyper-local, independent news outlets. Perhaps Facebook wants to create its own version of AOL’s Patch.com, a grassroots publishing and news platform for small towns across the United States. Whatever is in development now, Facebook said “we want to talk about it now so that we can get as much input from newsrooms and journalists as possible.”

Subscription models
As content and subscription funnels become more dominant in today’s media ecosystem, Facebook is experimenting with a native subscription feature for publishers and news outlets to grow their audience. Existing tests from Facebook are focused on free trial features and targeting within Instant Articles. Publishers who use Instant Articles could add a box for users to sign up for a free trial of their paid subscription. Facebook is testing this with German news organization, BILD.

Training and e-learning courses
To help journalists around the world, Facebook has created a single educational destination focused on Facebook’s products, tools and services. The Facebook Blueprint site emphasizes on the three pillars of the news cycle: discovering content, creating stories and building an audience.

Best practices for UGC and eyewitness media
When there’s a breaking news story, and a civilian uploads a video documenting the story, news outlets jump on the chance to use that content. However, many times journalists and organizations do not take the appropriate, or even legal, steps to using and asking for that content.  

Facebook will continue to help both journalists and eyewitnesses who upload videos and images during breaking news events. Facebook has committed to increase their involvement with First Draft Partner Network, “a coalition of platforms and 80+ publishers, that works together to provide practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify and publish content sourced from the social web.”

Fixing its Fake News problem
Facebook is certainly aware of its Fake News and news hoax issue, so it’s taking even more steps to limit this problem and hopefully fix it entirely. New platform updates allow people to help reduce the spread of fake news by reporting stories and posts, a new program with third-party fact checking organizations was established, and other methods to determine if stories are hoaxes before they even reach your News Feed.

The Future of Facebook
Click here to read the full announcement from Fidji Simo, Facebook’s Director of Product, and if you want to learn about Facebook’s vision for the future of video, the role it will play in advertising, and how language and communication will continue to evolve in this space.

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