Facebook and publishers have a love-hate relationship, in general. Sometimes the social network is great for directing traffic back to publishers’ websites, while at the same time, Mark Zuckerberg and company are competing for some of the same ad dollars that pubs want.
This time around, Facebook wants to help journalists discover verified, newsworthy content to aid in their reporting.
April 24, Facebook’s Director of News and Global Media Partnerships Andy Mitchell announced FB Newswire, “a resource that will make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce.”
They’re taking on this venture with Storyful, a social media news operation that is already quite useful for reporters breaking news in real-time. Storyful has a strong team in place that verifies social posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other networks by geolocation and diligent sourcing, and then communicates the verified information to newsrooms via an API or a dashboard. Really, Storyful is doing all the work here, but this is a wise step for Facebook, which clearly wants to appeal to media organizations.
Right now, about 30 percent of users find their news on Facebook, with 22 percent saying they think the platform is an adequate source for discovering news stories. It’s hard to say why that is, but it’s probably because Facebook was never intended to be a news wire. It’s a place to connect with friends. Twitter has always been a more effective means of finding real-time information, so it seems Facebook wants to be taken more seriously by users looking for news. Having Storyful on their side does a lot instantly for the reputation of this whole news wire endeavor.
No doubt about it — FB Newswire is a simpler and faster way to cull trustworthy news events in a large feed, and journalists are always looking to save time, but the question is whether media organizations will think to turn to it with so many other resources out there. If they can get the info straight from Storyful, why go to Facebook? We’ll have to see how FB Newswire pans out.