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Facebook to Hire Journalists to Curate Its Upcoming News Tab

Social network will have ex-reporters fill its new stories section with breaking and national news

Facebook is looking to hire a small team of journalists to help curate its upcoming News Tab, with job listings to be posted on Tuesday afternoon, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.

Most of the stories in News Tab will be selected by an algorithm aiming to connect users to news they’re interested in. The journalists-turned-Facebook employees will strictly handle a Top News section of the tab, filling it with breaking and national stories.

The News Tab is expected to launch this October — with Facebook seeking partnerships with media outlets like The Washington Post and ABC News to fill the section. The social network has signaled to executives at some outlets that it’s willing to pay annual licensing fees of as much as $3 million for the rights to headlines and article previews, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Our goal with the News tab is to provide a personalized, highly relevant experience for people,” Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said in a statement. “The majority of stories people will see will appear in the tab via algorithmic selection. 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 isn’t the first time Facebook has tried its hand at news curation. Last year, Facebook shuttered its Trending topics section, dedicated to giving users a quick look at the news, after the service became “less and less useful,” according to the company. Trending only accounted for less than 1.5%  of clicks for publishers in the five countries it was available (the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and India). Populated by Facebook’s algorithm, Trending was at times a major headache for the company — circulating a 9/11 hoax in 2016, for example.

Facebook’s upcoming News Tab will not be the same as Trending, the person familiar with the company’s plans stressed.