50+ More Publishers Will Soon Begin Testing Facebook’s Breaking News Tag

Click-through rates in the alpha-test were 4% higher than those for non-labeled posts

The Washington Post was one of Facebook's alpha-test partners
Facebook

Facebook is expanding its test of a breaking news tag to more than 50 publishers in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia, and product manager Joey Rhyu shared some data from the social network’s initial test run in a blog post.

According to Rhyu, from Dec. 8 through Jan. 14, posts labeled as breaking news as part of the alpha-test saw:

  • Click-through rates 4 percent higher than non-labeled posts.
  • Likes up 7 percent.
  • Comments up 4 percent.
  • Shares up 11 percent.

Publishers that are part of the next test group will be able to label one post per day as breaking news—including Instant Articles, mobile and web links and Facebook Live videos—with an extra five indicators per month.

The length of time that the posts will appear as breaking news can be set (up to six hours), and publishers will have access to insights on the performance of these tagged posts. Readers can also provide feedback via the drop-down menu in the top-right-hand corner of posts if they believe those posts should not be considered breaking news.

The Washington Post was one of Facebook’s alpha-test partners, and its lead product manager, Dave Merrell, said in the Facebook blog post, “We’ve been pleased to collaborate with Facebook to elevate breaking news on their platform and are excited—but not surprised—to see readers respond the way they have. Delivering accurate information quickly has always been our core to our mission, and in an overwhelming news cycle, we want our readers to be able to easily identify when there’s new reporting.”