On Wednesday, Facebook announced an initiative to launch its own journalism project in its continued effort to influence the way media organizations interact with the largest social media network on the web. You may recall that Facebook had also very recently vowed to crack down on fake news published on its site; so this may simply be an extension of that.
Distilling this move down, Facebook aims to present a positive image in regards to its information publication; the social media giant would prefer to be seen as on the side of legitimate news and not against it.
“We’re investing a lot of time,” explains Patrick Walker, who is the head of media partnerships for Facebook in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Walker notes that “we’re trying to get deeper at collaborating” with news outlets (as opposed to competing with them.
That’s not to say that Facebook has ever been, necessarily, against the media. Indeed, Facebook staff has been forging relationships with the international media for several years. As a matter of fact, the company just hired a very high-level liaison for its news business: the former NBC and CNN anchor, Campbell Brown.
Facebook director of product for media, Fidji Simo, attempts to explain that the concept is to “build together from the early stages of the product development process.” He goes on to say that the company already has “new storytelling formats” in the works, as well as new ways to promote news subscriptions through the site.
But Simo also touches on something that might be far more intimately effective: local news. Local news stations and regional newspapers have had to cutback dramatically over the past few years with digital advertising taking over that aspect of the traditional news business.
Combining this effort with the push back to combat fake news on Facebook and it appears the company has a real chance at making the kinds of changes users would want to see. And Facebook has also expressed plans to grow its training to better instruct journalists o how to make better of use of the social network’s platform.