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Accused of spreading misinformation, Facebook is trying to rectify the situation. On Friday, October 25th, Social Network CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of a news feed dedicated to journalism “quality”, named Facebook News. This project is currently limited to the United States and aims to give people “more control over the items they see and the ability to explore a wider range of interests, directly through the Facebook app”said the California group.
“It is clear that the work you all do, in the press and journalism, is essential for democracy”, assured Mark Zuckerberg, introducing New York “Facebook News”currently being tested with a subset of US users. “The major Internet services have the responsibility of associating with the press organs to establish viable models in the long term to finance this important work”, he added.
How will the wire work?
Facebook News will be the result of a selection powered by a team of professional journalists “Independent”, according to principles visible to all, combined with algorithms of “Personalization”.
It will be distinct from the flow of information that Facebook users receive via their “news feed” (on which there is a lot of information not coming from professional media) and will include articles from partner press organizations.
Thread “will highlight the main national news of the day “, while focusing on” entertainment, health, economy, sport “, four themes that Facebook users said they were particularly fond of.
Which media will be associated?
These American partners already include more than 200 media, including Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, People, ABC, CBS News or Fox News, but also the Breitbart site, close to the American far-right.
Some partners, including Breitbart, will not be paid for their content, according to Mark Zuckerberg. He did not explain clearly how the earnings of those who would be paid would be calculated, simply pointing out that there was no “unique formula”.
It did not quantify the overall cost of the project, evoking “multi-year financial commitments, which we hope will create a viable business model over the long term”.
How is the project received by professionals?
The launch illustrates Mark Zuckerberg's desire to revive Facebook's blazon on traditional media, while the platform is accused of being a major vector for spreading false information and siphoning off advertising revenues from news organizations.
The project is “a strong precedent, which will resonate in all newsrooms”said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp., who owns the Wall Street Journal and Fox News and presented the project with Mark Zuckerberg in New York. Even though the path will be “long” before taking the media out of their financial difficulties, “It's an important step”, he added.
Other media experts have expressed the hope that Facebook News will help contain false information on social networks. “Consumers who are not knowledgeable about information may not see the difference between exaggerated or false and viral information, and true journalism from respected media”, said Dan Kennedy, a professor at Northeastern University. This project “so should help a lot.”
Others, such as the Media Matters monitoring organization, nevertheless criticized the inclusion of the Breitbart site among the media partners,t “a new example that Mark Zuckerberg serves the white supremacists and the far right”. “A diversity of views is necessary for (Facebook News) a reliable source of information “replied the boss of the social network.