Facebook Launches Program to Create Stronger Ties With News Industry

Mark Zuckerberg in Barcelona
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.

After coming under fire for its role in the distributing of fake news during the election, Facebook is rolling out a new program designed to help it forge stronger ties with the news media. 

The social network has created the Facebook Journalism Project, a program that director of product Fidji Simo described in a blog post as "about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive."

Through the project, Facebook will begin collaborating with media organizations to develop news products and create tools for journalists and their readers. 

The Facebook Journalism Project is rolling out a week after the company tapped former CNN host Campbell Brown as its chief of news. Her hiring was widely considered a response to the criticism that Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have faced for not taking responsibility for the rash of fake news that proliferated on the site during the presidential election. Facebook has also announced plans to partner with ABC News, Snopes, Politifact and Factcheck.org to create a system for flagging and fact-checking stories as they find an audience on the platform.

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. 

While Simo notes in her blog post that Facebook has worked with news partners in the past, this new program is designed to bring media outlets into the conversation during the early stages of product development. "We can better serve the needs of people on Facebook, and those of our partners, when we work together to develop products," Simo writes.

Some of the plans Facebook already has in place include presenting packages of stories to readers via its Instant Articles feature, supporting local news and independent media outlets, offering free trials of paywalled content via Instant Articles and offering e-classes on Facebook tools for journalists. 


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