Facebook is trying its hand at news again. The website just launched a dedicated section for journalism, aptly titled Facebook News. According to Facebook, the new News section is vetted by a team of actual humans and includes hundreds of local and national sources.
It’s hard to see the words “Facebook News” without experiencing a barrage of painful flashbacks. The company vaulted itself into controversy with its Trending Topics news ticker, which amplified fake news after Facebook replaced its editors with robots. Facebook put hundreds of journalists out of work after lying about video metrics, and tried to strong-arm major publishers like The New York Times for the “Instant Access” news platform. So what’s different now?
In Facebook’s words, the News platform abides by a new set of “integrity standards.” These standards, which are enforced by a team of editors and 3rd party fact-checkers, should rule out “misinformation,” “hate speech,” “clickbait,” engagement bait,” and “scraped content,” among other “community standards violations.”
Each article on Facebook News is approved by a team of editors, not robots. And Facebook’s eligibility guidelines, while confusing, promise that the platform will only amplify publishers who are vetted and have a “sufficiently large audience.” Also, Facebook is separating News from the timeline and disabling comments for all News articles—something that should keep people from foaming at the mouth every time they log into Facebook.
Visually, the Facebook News platform is similar to Google News. It’s timely, well-organized, and easy to tailor toward your interests. But unlike Google News, the Facebook News platform puts a serious emphasis on local publications, and has a dedicated tab for news in your area. It’s a unique take from Facebook, and it could help local papers stay afloat.
Facebook News is live for all mobile users, but the platform isn’t available on the Facebook website yet. To access News, simply press the newspaper icon at the top of your Facebook app.