As part of a series of attempts to encourage journalism on its site, Facebook has launched a news tab. This controversial move will mean that, along with the traditional news feed, the tab with recommend articles to users’ and show the latest news reports.
At the moment, the feature will only be available to a small number of US customers. It will also run as a separate section for now; but it’s expected that, over time, the feature will take off and become widely available to Facebook users around the world.
With Facebook’s popularity declining, the company has made a number of changes to its platforms this year to encourage user engagement, including changes to Instagram and WhatsApp. It also announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency next year.
In an interview, Mark Zuckerberg said that, additionally, the tech giant hopes to support struggling news outlets. Many published have expressed concerns over Facebook’s dominant position and the effect it’s had on their ability to reach their audiences.
More people than ever choose to read news from the Facebook News Feed. But, changing algorithms have created a challenge for news publishers, as many have struggled to optimise their news articles to reach potential readers on the platform.
In the first test of the new feature, Facebook News will show users original news reports from local publishers in the largest metropolitan regions of the US, which will include Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. Eventually, the section will provide personalised articles on topics of interest and there will be a section for people who have paid news subscriptions.
Facebook said in a statement: “We have progress to make before we can rely on technology alone to provide a quality news destination. We also aim to serve both people and news publishers, and not just the big national players.”
“We want new forms of journalism in the digital age, including individual, independent journalism, to flourish. So we will continue to expand the algorithmic selection of stories driving the majority of Facebook News.”