“Top Story tonight: Putin is awesome”
WHO DO you trust to bring you the news? BBC? CNN? Euronews? Erm… Facebook?
That last one shouldn’t be on the list, let’s face it, but that won’t stop the social networking giant from giving it the old college try, again.
Cue the limited roll-out of Facebook’s new News tab, designed to keep credible sources from the incredible arses.
Credible sources mean the likes of USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Buzzfeed, with Facebook seeding the major sources (with money, natch) to give the site a shot of much-needed credibility.
Announcing the service, Facebook explains:
“Journalism plays a critical role in our democracy. When news is deeply-reported and well-sourced it gives people the information they can rely on. When it’s not, we lose an essential tool for making good decisions.
“People want and benefit from personalised experiences on Facebook, but we know there is reporting that transcends individual experience. We want to support both. Unlike Google News, which is controlled by algorithms, Facebook News works more like Apple News, with human editors making decisions.
The human editors will need to be neutral, but Facebook has thought of that. Its editors will be independent of the company, and all guidelines for how they curate are published for you to peruse.
The stories you see will, however, continue to evolve based on your personal interests, presumably drawn from both your news choices and main Facebook feed.
There are options to tune your feed too, by turning off certain subjects, publishers, publications or authors you don’t like, or amplifying them if you do. Standard stuff, but very welcome.
It’s also possible to subscribe to specific publications if you so wish. There is another way of doing this, of course, it’s called “their sites”, but that doesn’t mean more traffic for Zuck, so of course it’s included as an option.
Although a lot of people will be loathed to trust anything Facebook comes up with, it’s at least a good sign that it is actively trying to answer its critics. Facebook News is available to a few hundred thousand punters from today, with a full roll out later. μ