Facebook launches Facebook News in the United States

Is Facebook becoming the new news source? The social network has now launched a new feature in the USA: Facebook News. Here users can consume local and national news.

Facebook is taking a significant step towards journalism. The social network has now launched the Facebook News Tab for all users in the USA. The social media group already introduced the feature in October 2019 and initially tested it with a small user group. The fact that Facebook gets its own news area is highly controversial. On the one hand, the social media platform promises journalists and publishers more reach with Facebook News. On the other hand, the social media giant thus strengthens its supremacy within the digital industry.

Facebook News: Local and national news for users

In addition to national reporting, users in the United States can also access local news via Facebook News. In order to be able to present the perfect news mix to users in the new news area, the group relies on a mix of relevant journalistic content and personalized content. The website of the social media group states:

We looked at three main factors to help deliver a great news experience on Facebook News: what news outlets show up in the tab, how the news you see is personalized and how we select what goes in Today’s Stories. […] Our research indicates that people on Facebook want a wide variety of news, so we’re working to ensure that we have sufficient content to meet those interests. We’re focused on including four main categories of publishers: general, topical, diverse and local news publishers

Users can react to the content in the news area or share it. Commenting is not possible. Users can also hide unwanted articles, topics or publishers. A first point of criticism follows from this function. Because users make certain articles and publishers, of which they don’t want to read anything, disappear from their view, they are less fully informed. Users can completely hide the opinion of “the other side” on a certain topic.

© Facebook

For publishers, appearing in Facebook News can mean significantly more reach. However, news portals themselves must already have a large readership in order to qualify for the Facebook news tab. How exactly the social media group selects the content for its own news tab is unclear. Facebook itself only announced that the company is paying attention to certain signals such as clickbait, engagement bait or disinformation.

Should Facebook become the new news source for users?

Facebook has already tested the integration of its own news feature. In 2018, Facebook users were able to access “trending stories” for a short period of time. Here, Facebook played news content to the users that was relevant at the time, according to the social media platform. First, editors selected the news for the list feature. However, Facebook later released them and replaced them with an algorithm. As a result, users were shown more and more content that contained disinformation. Facebook then removed “Trending Stories” from the platform in June 2018. Since it is not known how the company selects the content for Facebook News, critics suspect that more false information is also being disseminated here.


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An additional point of criticism that ties in with this: In the past, Facebook has repeatedly played a decisive role in the dissemination of conspiracy theories and posts that glorify violence. Controversial content has not been subjected to a fact check. Facebook was also used to spread political propaganda. It is still unclear whether Facebook News has stricter guidelines to counter such incidents.

Facebook News is now available for all users in the United States. Facebook will roll out the new feature for the desktop in the coming weeks. It is not yet known when users in Germany can access the news tab.



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