Facebook has reached an agreement to pay licensing fees in exchange for featuring headlines from major publishers in its upcoming news tab, reports Market Watch. Among the publishers that have agreed to the deal with the social media platform are the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, News Corp, New York Post, Business Insider, BuzzFeed News and other Dow Job publications. Though rumors indicate the New York Times may also be in talks with Facebook, an agreement has not been confirmed. The news tab could launch by the end of the month.
A combination of algorithms and a small team of journalists will determine which news stories will appear in the news tab, including a breaking news section and a section of top 10 stories. One factor editors will consider is the source of the news story with an emphasis on trusted media outlets and sources, says Nieman Lab.
People want to see high quality news on Facebook, said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. Im excited well have the opportunity to include award-winning journalism from The Wall Street Journal [and other U.S. News Corp properties] in our news tab.
Though specific financial terms have not been disclosed publicly, Market Watch says the three-year deals range from several hundred thousand dollars for smaller, regional publications to $3 million for larger, national publications. Facebook is hoping to publish news from about 200 news outlets, though it is only offering compensation to about one-fourth of those.
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This is not Facebooks first attempt at assembling a news section, reports USA Today. In 2016, Facebook tried a trending topics section. In late 2018, Facebook launched Today In to connect users with their local news outlets. Neither of these experiments were wildly successful. Can Facebook use a reimagined news tab to show that it cares about quality journalism?
With Facebooks credibility and bias in doubt, it is not clear how a news tab will help the social media giants reputation. However, as the business models of publishers adapt to an ever-changing media landscape, it seems like a sweet deal for publishers. They do not have to produce new or unique content for Facebook. The publishers are just agreeing to provide links to content theyve already created that will link back to the original content. In exchange, the publishers get additional revenue and exposure to potentially new readers. This additional traffic could translate into new advertisers and subscribers for the publishers. Essentially, the publishers have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain if the news tab is successful.