Facebook’s Journalism Project

With 1.86 billion users worldwide, it is no surprise that Facebook is the world’s most popular social media site. Out of these users, 1.15 billion of them access their mobile platforms daily. This demand makes it obvious that this is a great platform for journalists and content creators to share their content and for users to receive information. Facebook aims to foster this journalistic growth through their Journalism Project. This includes efforts to produce a collaborative development of news products and provide training and tools for both journalists and regular users.

To better accommodate the need for interactive and targeted news, Facebook partnered with a variety of news organizations to create a more refined product. They are working to hear from both US and international based companies on best practices and ideas for growth. Developers from Facebook are also increasing the number of Hackathons they host, allowing them to learn from developers currently working with news organizations.

Currently, platforms such as Live, 360, and Instant Articles are the most popular for these news organizations. Instant Articles is in the testing phase of providing packages of articles to more engaged followers.  Engagement will also be increased through the focus on increasing the amount of their partners’ subscribers, attained through simple links within Instant Articles. The team also recognizes the importance of local news and is working on ways to support and promote smaller companies.

In order to provide the most supportive environment for journalists, Facebook will begin offering e-learning courses in addition to their existing newsroom training. These will cover the products, tools, and services that benefit these creators. To further this effort, Facebook has partnered with Poynter to design a certificate curriculum. (This is not yet available.) Another strong partnership that Facebook boasts is one with First Draft News and 80+ other successful publishers. This partnership aims to provide a means for verifying and publishing content obtained through social media, including eyewitness testimony, images, and videos. Additionally, by working with CrowdTangle, Facebook has given the publishers access to important metrics. This helps writers find content, measure performance, and identify influencers.

In today’s day and age, no matter how many measures are in place to promote the growth of successful news organizations, there will still be a significant amount of “fake news” stories. In order to create a more meaningful product for users, Facebook will provide training and tools for users to find news stories from sources they trust and communicate more effectively with these partners. Research is still underway on the proper way to train users on news literacy. While this program is in development, Facebook is producing PSAs alongside the News Literacy Project. Also, Facebook is supporting the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter’s service of non-biased fact-checking of media. If users do come across hoax stories, there will be a simpler way to report them. The producers of this “fake news” will also be affected by efforts to reduce the financial incentives that they benefit from.

Now more than ever, people are relying on social media to inform them of news about politics, celebrities, and more. It is admirable that Facebook recognized its position as the top social media provider and developed a plan to provide the most trustworthy and user-friendly news. We look forward to hearing more about these efforts and the transformation of the way news is presented, analyzed, and accessed. Stay tuned to our blog for more news on the industry, company achievements, and more!

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