As the UK prepares to focus its focus on how it regulates big tech companies, Facebook is taking a big step in the role it plays in presenting media to the UK public and how it works with the UK media industry.
Today it is launching Facebook News in the UK , Facebook’s first marketplace outside of the US for its curated and dedicated news portal, accessed, like the US version, via a tab in the Android or iOS app menu.
The portal will launch with content from hundreds of local and national media organizations, including Channel 4 News , Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and hundreds of local news sites from Archant, Iliffe , JPI Media, Midlands News Association, and its scope, as well as the titles of «lifestyle »GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamor, Vogue and others were announced in a previous list of partners last year.
What does Facebook News bring?
Again, just like with the US version, users will receive a list of the best selected stories of the day; a list of personalized stories based on news sources you may already follow or interests you have (they may be from posts you don’t follow yet); and news sections dedicated to sports, entertainment, health, and science and technology . Users can indicate when they like the stories or when they want to hide them to better train the algorithms.
Facebook has confirmed that it will work with a service called Upday to select the stories that appear in News. “The product is a combination of selected featured stories and algorithmically chosen custom links,” said a spokesperson. Upday appears to be a joint collaboration between German publisher Axel Springer and Samsung, which also runs a news feed on their tech phones.
It is not clear what the financial terms of the agreement between Facebook and Upday are, but, reportedly , the license agreements that Facebook is cutting with publishers to put their content in News altogether amounts to tens of millions of pounds, and the biggest publishers make millions. one year from the agreements. While those numbers may pale in comparison to what Facebook generates in global ad revenue, which runs into the tens of billions of dollars quarterly, they represent significant sums for the struggling UK media industry.
Will Facebook News be reliable?
People have long used news sources on Facebook and other social sites to catch up on the news. Also to search for posts from friends, groups and pages that follow. Facebook News aims to take that one step further. How? As a page selected for links and headlines of hundreds of publications in the country to give users of their mobile applications a unique place to read the stories of the moment.
The social networks continue to be an important source of news for consumers; however, as we have seen, a very biased and flawed source.
Within that context, Facebook says that their intention with Facebook News is to provide a combination of more news balanced and dedicated. To whom? To people beyond what they might find in your news feeds, while tailoring it to the interests of users.
It also helps that Facebook News provides another way for Facebook , which has made efforts in video, entertainment content, mentoring and job hunting, Nextdoor-style community listings, peer-to-peer selling, and more, to continue to diversify away from Newsfeed for those who have gotten bored with it: Now, the folks You can also come to the Facebook app to search for news.
Still, this international expansion has been a long time coming: Facebook News was first launched as a trial in the US. over a year, in October 2019, before rolling out to all users last June.
No news from Facebook on how many users or engagement the US version of Facebook News has garnered , except that it “has grown steadily,” according to one portav oz.
It’s unclear why there’s been such a long gap between their early efforts in the US and the UK launch today, but Facebook has had more going on as well. to secure those license agreements to implement in this market.
Will it reach more countries?
The launch of a new news portal, with the message that it is designed to “help” publishers , takes on a new dimension if one considers that Facebook has also been in the sights of regulators in Europe. These have been on a long-term mission. to scrutinize the reach of big tech companies. In the UK, this will soon take the form of a new ‘pro-competition’ Digital Market Unit. It will reexamine the role that companies like Facebook and Google play in advertising, the media, and more.
It remains to be seen if those regulatory moves will affect the operation of a service like Facebook News. Also what cuts in revenue and usage data are shared with news partners.
Meanwhile, Facebook confirmed plans last year that its long-term goal is further international expansion. from Facebook News. There is a long longer list of countries, including Brazil, France, Germany and India. Facebook’s director of news partnerships in Europe, Jesper Doub , confirmed that France and Germany were next for Facebook News. However, no release dates were specified.