In its continued bid to be the place for everything, Facebook is once again said to be looking at hiring journalists to curate content for its News Tab.
Does this sound familiar? If it does that’s because we’ve been here before and it didn’t end well.
But, Mark Zuckerberg et al are doing it again according to a report from The New York Times.
The social network told the publication that it was putting together a small team to ensure it is “highlighting the right stories”. As we all know, Facebook’s reputation was crushed after it was revealed that Russia used the platform to meddle in the 2016 US elections. More than that, the Cambridge Analytica scandal brought to light how users can have their data turned against them.
Needless to say, Facebook needs to earn some good will back with users and perhaps earnestly trying to be a better news source might help that cause.
While humans will be curating stories, Facebook said that an algorithm will sort and rank stories in the News Tab. Due to the time it takes to teach an algorithm what folks respond to, the journalists will select the most pertinent news of the day.
What is unclear at this stage is whether Facebook will enter any sort of monetary deals with news outlets in order to put them first in the News Tab. Given that this might invoke the ire of other outlets or politicians we don’t think its likely but we also can’t predict what Facebook is going to do. If we were betting people though, we’d err on the side of Facebook finding a way to monetise this feed.
A test of the new News Tab is expected before the close of the year and it will be interesting to see how Facebook approaches this.
Aside from privacy issues, Silicon Valley has experienced a barrage of attacks from politicians claiming social media is silencing conservative media and voices.
Here’s hoping Facebook gets news right this time.