Journalists Will Help Curate News Stories for Facebook Mobile News Tab Instead of Algorithm


Facebook will be hiring journalists to help curate stories for its new “News Tab” to be launched before the end of the year on the mobile app.

Although the social media giant has previously relied on algorithms to select what users see, it plans to hire people to work on the news initiative that will “highlight real-time journalism and news” outside of the News Feed, according to a report by The New York Times.

“Our goal with the News Tab is to provide a personalized, highly relevant experience for people,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, said.

“To start, for the Top News section of the tab we’re pulling together a small team of journalists to ensure we’re highlighting the right stories.”

This team of journalists will reportedly help with breaking news and top stories, but other content will appear after being sorted and ranked by an algorithm.

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According to Brown, training algorithms to personalize content takes a lot of data and time, which is why the company has hired journalists to help with the most important stories of the day.

As well as hiring journalists for its news initiative, Facebook has also offered major news outlets millions of dollars to license their content.

Representatives from Facebook confirmed the launch of the new tab to CNBC after The Wall Street Journal released a report with details on the company’s latest plan to fight fake news.

According to The Journal, news executives have been offered as much as $3 million a year for Facebook to license headlines and previews of articles.

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Some of these outlets include ABC News, Dow Jones, The Washington Post and Bloomberg, anonymous people familiar with the matter told The Journal. It is not known at this time what other companies have been approached with an offer, or which companies Facebook considers trustworthy enough for the “News Tab.”

The proposed licensing deals would last for three years after the section is launched, and it has been suggested to allow news publishers to decide how their content appears (either as a headline or a preview that would send readers to the original website).

The social media company currently pays similar licensing fees for content such as videos shown in the Facebook Watch section as well as content created for Facebook Live.

According to The Times, Apple and LinkedIn have also added journalists to their teams to help edit and curate AppleNews and work on editorial products on LinkedIn, respectively.

Facebook has been under scrutiny for its algorithms and alleged suppression of conservative stories in its News Feed.

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As a result of an interim report of a review led by former Sen. Jon Kyl published on Tuesday, Facebook said that it will try to be more transparent about how it ranks content and enforces community standards, CNBC reported.

According to the report, Facebook “has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith