Facebook Started Indexing News Pages to Determine Which Publishers Belong in Its Ad Archive

The social network developed its requirements with news organizations, academics and industry groups

Pages that are included in the indexing process will not look any different bombuscreative/iStock

Facebook announced that it has begun the process of indexing news pages in order to determine which publishers should be included in the Ad Archive that it introduced in June.

The Ad Archive, which is available globally, gives people the ability to search for ads related to politics or issues of national importance, such as education or immigration, and it will store ads and political issue content run by advertisers for up to seven years from the day they run.

Facebook began populating the archive in early May, and it provides information including the campaign budget associated with the ad and how many people saw it, as well as their ages, locations and genders.

The social network said its goal is to be as inclusive as possible, regardless of size or reach, adding, “Whether a page applies that is a news service with dozens of bureaus or it’s the page of a citizen journalist reporting neighborhood news, we want to include the widest reasonable range of news pages on Facebook.”

Pages that are included in the indexing process will not look any different, and the status of their verification will not be impacted.

News product manager Mollie Vandor revealed in a blog post that publishers can apply to add their pages to the indexing process if they meet the following requirements, which Facebook developed in partnership with news organizations, academics and industry groups:

  • Publishers must be able to confirm domain ownership and identity.
  • Publishers must follow Facebook’s community standards.
  • Pages that repeatedly share misinformation will be ineligible for registration as news pages, and if fact-checking partners discover registered news pages repeatedly sharing misinformation, registration will be revoked for those pages.
  • Publishers should primarily create journalism that reports on current events or information.
  • Sources should be cited for published facts or information.
  • Bylines (or reasonable alternatives) and dates/timestamps should be added to published content.
  • Content cannot primarily be user-generated or aggregated from other sources.
  • The amount of advertising and promotional content should not exceed the amount of news content.
  • News content must be clearly distinguished from affiliate, promotional, advertising and marketing content.

Vandor said the process will be rolled out gradually, starting with a subset of English-language pages. She added that Facebook is currently using industry lists, “but we know industry lists are not inclusive of all the news pages on Facebook. In order to categorize ads from pages correctly, we need to identify news pages in a scalable way.”

Finally, Vandor addressed the next steps in the process: “We will continually reconvene with news organizations, academics and industry groups to ensure that the process for registration is as smooth as possible and to figure out more beneficial uses of the index—for example, using the index to identify which pages should get access to the breaking news product once it is out of testing, or experimenting with how to surface more publisher information to Facebook users, like editorial or fact-checking policies.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.