Facebook Is Making a Return to News, This Time With Journalists

The company is reportedly hiring a team of journalists to curate top news stories

Facebook is ready to start spreading the news again
Con Karampelas/Unsplash
By Kayla Kibbe / August 20, 2019 11:32 am

Facebook seems to have decided now is a good time to give news another try. According to Fortune, the social media company is hiring a team of journalists to curate top news stories that will be displayed in an upcoming News Tab on the platform.

The News Tab will feature news stories selected by Facebook’s team of journalists, along with algorithm-driven articles selected based on individual users’ habits and interests. While Facebook’s push to hire journalists may seem to suggest the company is looking to branch into publishing, the platform maintains it is not a media outlet. Rather, Facebook’s team of journalists will function solely as news curators collecting stories from other outlets; they will not write any original content or edit headlines.

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

Facebook’s renewed foray into news — a notoriously controversial area for the platform — comes about a year after the company shut down its Trending Topics feature. Originally launched in 2014, Trending Topics displayed popular topics that were being discussed across the platform. Like Facebook’s upcoming News Tab, Trending Topics was initially helmed by a team of journalists, who were eventually replaced by an algorithm following accusations of suppressing conservative news and voices. The automated system that replaced the journalists didn’t fare much better, however, and the feature was eventually shuttered in response to allegations of political bias and misinformation.

While Facebook hasn’t announced an official launch for the News Tab, Fortune reported the new feature is expected to debut this fall.

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