With the soft launch of a new curation product called Facebook News, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and News Corp CEO Robert Thomson engaged in a discussion at the Paley Media Center in New York City. The news curation product is said to showcase daily news of a high quality, Venture Beat reported.
News rolled out for a portion of Facebook users in the United States, and is accessible from a shortcut at the bottom of the platform’s mobile app. It showcases developing stories from certain publishers that curators deem to be relevant to the national conversation, as well as original reporting from local publications with the inclusion of New York, Miami, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, among other places.
Zuckerberg believes Facebook News can reach 20 to 30 million people in the next few years. “It’s very clear that the work that the news industry does is … critical for democracy,” he said. “This is gonna be the first time ever that there is a dedicated space in the [Facebook] app focused on some high-quality journalism … [and] the first time we’re making multi-year financial commitments. We’ve gotten these secondary tabs to work.”
The curators are reportedly free from editorial intervention, populating a specific tab with articles selected per publicly available guidelines. While Facebook reportedly said it won’t provide advertisers with News data, Zuckerberg noted an openness to providing publishers with insights into the engagement of their paid subscribers.
In separate Facebook news, earlier this year the social media platform announced it was rolling out a Fan Subscriptions feature that would allow users to pay a monthly fee for access to a creator’s exclusive content. The service started testing last year as Facebook looks to compete with Patreon, which had three million patrons set to pay 100,000 creators more than $500 million this year, per reports in February.