Aug 20, 2019

Scoop: Inside Facebook's new plan for news

Facebook executives tell Axios they're hiring seasoned journalists to help curate a forthcoming "News Tab" that they hope will change how millions get news.

Why it matters: News Tab is an effort by Facebook to restore the sanity and credibility that's lost in the chaos of our main feeds. Facebook will personalize the News Tab, so it will need a massive amount of content, from the New York Jets to gardening.

News Tab, a personal passion of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is also an effort by Facebook to develop a healthier relationship with publishers, many of whom have had their business models destroyed by social platforms.

  • Facebook will pay dozens of publishers to license content for News Tab, and news from many more will be included.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that the largest partners will be paid millions of dollars a year.
  • News Tab will try to give credit to the outlet that broke a story, rather than an aggregator.

Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of news partnerships, said: "Our goal with the News tab is to provide a personalized, highly relevant experience ... The majority of stories people will see will appear in the tab via algorithmic selection."

  • A small team of journalists will pick stories for a Top News section.

Last year, Facebook killed Trending Topics, populated by contractors, after being accused of bias.

  • "We learned a lot from Trending," a Facebook executive told me. "This is a completely different product."

What's next: A News Tab test for 200,000 users will begin in October, with a rollout to all U.S. users early next year.

Go deeper: Facebook says there isn't enough local news for its users

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Big Tech's 2020 news push

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are ramping up efforts to support news companies as they face pressure to elevate quality news and information ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Tech titans, particularly Google and Facebook, have been blamed for their role in spreading misinformation during the 2016 election that may have impacted voter turnout or results. They've also been blamed by publishers for cutting into media ad revenues.

Go deeperArrowSep 14, 2019

Facebook rolls out tool to let users control data collected by outside apps

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook on Tuesday introduced a new setting to let users view and control data from apps and websites that send Facebook information about user activity away from the app. Facebook is also giving users the ability to clear this information from their account if they choose to, something the company said it was working on doing last year.

Why it matters: The new tool is supposed to give users more control over how their data is shared, in light of revelations through news stories — primarily the Cambridge Analytica scandal — that other companies can access and share user data with Facebook.

Go deeperArrowAug 20, 2019

News aggregation apps take on Big Tech

Illustration: Aida Amer/Axios

Several companies and investors around the globe are pouring billions of dollars into a new wave of news aggregation apps that they hope will steer news traffic away from tech giants like Google and Facebook.

Why it matters: The dominance of a handful of tech companies over the entire news and information landscape is worrying policymakers around the world.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019