Published: Thu, January 12, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Facebook wants to 'support journalism,' educate readers

Numerous initiatives Facebook announced Wednesday have been previously discussed but the public push reflects its heavy reliance on the media for a steady stream of content to keep its 1.8 billion users glued to their News Feed longer so Facebook can show them more ads.

Facebook announced Wednesday the creation of "The Facebook Journalism Project", a new program that will create stronger links between the social media platform and the news industry.

"Facebook" and "quality journalism" are not usually phrases you would see put together, but Facebook Inc. wants to change that with its newly announced Facebook Journalism Project.

Facebook's collaboration with reporters on news products could lead to entirely new storytelling formats, more support for local news content, experimentation with business models such as subscriptions and hackathons in which engineers from Facebook and media companies work together.

Facebook is now testing a feature using Instant Articles which would allow readers to see multiple stories at one time, as a package, from their favorite news organizations. One feature the site plans to test uses Instant Articles that will allow users to view multiple stories at once from their favored news organizations.

Facebook - which has been the poster child for the scourge of "fake news" online - is taking more steps to improve its reputation as a source of high-quality news and information.

Publishers have become increasingly reliant on platforms like Facebook to help drive page views, but the social network has recently tweaked its News Feed algorithm to promote video content over text-based news.

In recent months, Facebook has been criticized for its role in the dissemination of news, especially related to the USA presidential election. It is set to begin in the coming weeks in partnership with publishers including Fox News and the Washington Post. Today, Facebook unveiled "The Facebook Journalism Project".

"This is just the beginning of our effort on that front - we have much more to do", Simo said.

Facebook says that it's working with fact checking organizations to identify what's commonly known as "fake news". Many local and regional newspapers have experienced severe cutbacks in recent years as digital advertising has supplanted print.

"The ball is somewhat in the news companies' court to say: This is what we need", Jarvis said.

It is no secret that Facebook has been struggling with fake news topics being shared through its platform, and the company is desperately fighting the perception that the social network can not be a reliable source of information.

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