In a move which tacitly acknowledges that there’s a lot of rubbish on social media, Facebook launched a free filtering service called Newswire yesterday for journalists and others who want to see what stories are breaking right now. It’s a service primarily aimed at bringing the world’s breaking news directly to journalists and newsrooms but is also available to the other 1.2 billion users on the social network as well.
Newswire aggregates newsworthy content that has been shared publicly on the social network, ” include original photos, videos and status updates posted by people on the front lines of major events like protests, elections and sporting events.” To curate the content on Newswire, Facebook has teamed up with Storyful, a company who specialises in sifting through the massive amounts of content that come through various social media and verifying the the stories using its own group of journalists before pushing them out to the world.
The move by Facebook is seen by most as taking aim squarely at defeating Twitter in the race to be the first place that breaking news is posted by news organisations and ultimately linked to in the news stories of the world as the story is picked up. Twitter has often been described as “the pulse of the internet“, and while Facebook has the largest number of subscribers, influencers and journalists tend to prefer the Twitter firehose as one that’s more straightforward to filter and search.
Facebook is hoping that having the news break first on its platform and the subsequent embedding of those stories will encourage other journalists and news organisations to publish their breaking stories on Facebook first.