Facebook News tab won’t include ads, but publishers can still monetize content

Facebook News tab won’t include ads, but publishers can still monetize content”

News Corp. Chief Executive Officer Robert Thomson is scheduled to appear Friday at an event in NY with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the news section. "We actually optimize the system for facilitating as many meaningful interactions as possible".

Facebook launched a test version of its news service on Friday, teaming up with a handful of publishers to showcase a wide range of news stories on its platform.

The rage over Breitbart's inclusion in Facebook News dodges the heart of the matter - that users should not be trusting a company whose founder has referred to users as "dumb f**ks" to select what news they are to consume.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg declined to talk about why Breitbart was included, but said that for the news section to be a trustworthy source, it must include a diverse range of views. Conservatives complained about political bias, leading Facebook to fire its human editors and automate the section until it began recycling false stories, after which the social giant shut it down entirely. A bipartisan bill introduced in US Congress this year would grant an antitrust exemption to news companies, letting them band together to negotiate payments from the big tech platforms.

Facebook is expected to pay some of the news organisations that will contribute but has yet to disclose full details.

In particular, he said the company needed to show that tabs within Facebook, like Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Watch, could attract a meaningful audience. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the majority of Facebook users aren't interested in these other tabs, but when you've got such an enormous user base, even a small percentage can be meaningful. The Today's Stories panel, for instance, will be picking long form and originally reported pieces, according to "publicly available guidelines".

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Facebook has been criticized in recent weeks over its decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians, drawing ire from Democratic candidates running in the 2020 presidential election such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren. He said the initial focus was on building a broad set of content and figuring how to compensate publishers with paywalls.

"Less savvy news consumers might not be able to tell the difference between exaggerated or fake viral news and real journalism from respected news organizations", Kennedy said.

"People have a different expectation in a space dedicated to high-quality news than they do in a space where the goal is to make sure everyone can have a voice and can share their opinion", he said.

"Ah, interesting, I didn't know that was a thing a person could do", Zuckerberg responded as the crowd responded with laughter.

Facebook News also promises to open a new revenue stream for media companies that have often struggled to make online news sustainable.

How will Facebook News work and look? Facebook formed a curation team for the Today's Stories section and gave it editorial independence, meaning what users see in this section shouldn't be influenced in any way by Facebook's management.

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