Facebook wants to work more closely with journalists

Mark ZuckerbergGetty / Stephen LamFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook is taking big steps to deepen its ties with the media.

On Wednesday, the company announced The Facebook Journalism Project, a group of initiatives designed to make sure “that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive.”

As part of the project, Facebook will give participating media organisations access to new features and tools for sharing their stories on its network, including reader subscriptions and free analytics. (Business Insider is a partner in the program.)

Facebook’s decision to work more closely with media outlets comes after the company faced heated criticism for its role in spreading fake news stories during the U.S. presidential election.

Since then, Facebook has started working with third-party fact checkers like Snopes to weed out dubious news stories, and last week it hired former NBC and CNN anchor Campbell Brown to be its head of news partnerships.

Here are the key things Facebook will offer publishers through its new journalism project:

  • Digests of related news stories that are shown in the News Feed. Facebook will start letting media outlets “present packages of stories to their most engaged readers on Facebook” through its Instant Articles format, Facebook product director Fidji Simo said in a blog post.
  • Promoting local, independent news organisations. “We’re interested in exploring what we can build together with our partners to support local news and promote independent media,” said Simo. “This initiative is in its earliest stages; we want to talk about it now so that we can get as much input from newsrooms and journalists as possible, working together to shape what local news on Facebook could look like.”
  • Subscriptions. Facebook will start testing the ability for media companies to offer subscriptions with free trials for their content directly on its social network, starting with the German news organisation BILD (which is owned by Business Insider owner Axel Springer). Eventually publishers will be able to charge for these subscriptions.
  • Ad breaks in live videos. Facebook will also give more outlets the ability to run ads during their live videos (Business Insider has been an early partner for this test.)
  • More analytics. Facebook is giving participating media organisations free access to CrowdTangle, the analytics platform it acquired last year.

You can read more about The Facebook Journalism Project on Facebook’s blog.

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