Last year, Facebook launched its new feature, Facebook News, which the company described as a “place on Facebook for all the news you care about”. Its primary purpose was to give users greater control over the news stories they would see on the platform.
The feature was initially only for US users. But, Facebook is now beginning its expansion of the service and the dedicated news content section will be launched in the UK next.
A number of major publishers, including Sky News, The Guardian, and Channel 4 have signed deals with Facebook to provide online content. It’s expected that other publishers will follow, despite recent scrutiny over the practices of the platform.
The Economist, The Independent, and Cosmopolitan were already on board when the tool was announced for UK audiences last year. Ahead of the launch, The Daily Mail, Financial Times, the Telegraph, and others were also announced.
Facebook says that this feature is designed to ease the tension between itself and news publishers. In recent years, new content providers have become increasingly dependent on Facebook advertising rather than relying on individual news outlets.
How does the feature work?
Facebook says that going forward, it will pay publishers for content if it’s not already on the platform. It also says the new feature will provide new opportunities for publishers to advertise and gain subscriptions with the social media giant.
For users, the tool will be accessed on a dedicated tab on their mobile app. It will contain a combination of popular news stories each day, along with “personalized” news stories. These stories will be chosen by Facebook’s algorithm and will depend on the person’s interests.
News organizations will be able to find new readers more easily, as, according to Facebook, over 95% of traffic in the US was from people that hadn’t read the publications before.
Facebook plans to expand this feature to its global audience in the coming months and years. In the near future, it plans to roll it out in other countries, including France and Germany.