One of the core functions of Facebook is disseminating news to its users and it is a fact that a majority of Internet users get bombarded by news items on the platform. Facebook has in turn tweaked the News Feed in such a way that if you engage with news items, you will be served with related articles which some of them are served on their proprietary Instant Articles platform.
There exists a symbiotic relationship between publishers and Facebook and the company wants to foster that relationship even further. That is why they have introduced the Facebook Journalism Project which involves three initiatives.
Collaborative development of news products
Facebook wants to engage with journalists to come up with new storytelling formats that will help people be more informed.They also want to engage them to evolve their current formats (360, Live Video, Instant Articles) so that they suit their needs or make entirely new ones.
The company also wants to focus on local news where they will collaborate with their partners to support the documentation of local news. According to Facebook, this initiative is in its earliest stages.
Another area for collaboration is growing the business models of the publishing houses. According to Facebook, these publishers showed interest in having a subscription and they are exploring efforts to start them. For example,a German news organization, BILD will launch free trials to engaged readers on Instant Articles.
Facebook is known for its hackathon tradition and the company will launch a global initiative where their engineers will host sessions with developers around the globe. Also, Facebook has committed to listen to its publishers where they will make efforts to meet them around the world.
Training and Tools for Journalists
Facebook will now conduct a series of e-learning courses for journalists on their products, tools and services. This will be expanded to nine additional languages and will partner with a third party to launch a certificate curriculum in the future.They will also train journalists at local newsrooms (US first).
In terms of tools, Facebook has several plans. They recently acquired CrowdTangle which is used to surface stories and identify influencers which will be made available to their partners for free.
They will also build more tools to help journalists use Live to report and discover news easily. Also today, Page administrators will be able to designate journalists as contributors, which will allow them to go live on behalf of the Page. They will also allow journalists to have a simpler way to see insights from their public videos. In the future, they also want to allow journalists to use their professional equipment to go live.
Eyewitnesses are also crucial in the reporting of news and that is why Facebook is a member of the First Draft Partner Network. This organization provides a practical and ethical guidance in how to find, verify and publish content that was sourced from social network (like eyewitness news) which is critical since fake news is currently a big problem.
Facebook did not forget the rest of the community in terms of empowering them with tools. The company will work with third party organizations to promote news literacy in their platform and make improvements to curb fake news.