Facebook Makes a Return to News Distribution With a Curated ‘News Tab’ Launching Friday

While the majority of stories will be chosen based on an algorithm, Facebook will also assemble a group of journalists to curate a “Top News” section

Facebook will announce a curated “news tab” on Friday during a fireside chat between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson, a Facebook company spokesperson confirmed to The Wrap.

The news tab will primarily be populated by stories chosen for individuals based on an algorithm, but the company is looking to assemble a group of journalists who will personally choose the most relevant national news stories to include in a “Top News” section of the tab, Campbell Brown, vice president of global news partnerships, said in August. The team will solely be focused on selecting breaking and top news stories and will not be involved with editing headlines or writing content, according to the spokesperson.

To ensure that the news tab has enough content outside of what would normally be shared on Facebook, the spokesperson said some publishers who have partnered with Facebook have also provided access to all their content through an application programming interface. The list of partners, according to the Washington Post, include the Post, the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, BuzzFeed News and several local news publications.

Up until Jan. 2018, Facebook had been crucial distributor for publishers who shared their stories on the platform. But when Facebook decided to have its algorithm prioritize posts from family and friends, the changes severely impacted traffic for several news organizations. With the news tab, which Zuckerberg also mentioned during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Facebook will be reentering the news distribution business with this curated service.

“Working with the news industry to get Facebook’s News Tab right is our goal and focus this year,” Brown tweeted in August. “I believe we can provide people on Facebook a better news experience.”

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