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Facebook Launches Program Aimed at Improving Relationship with News Industry

Tyrone Stewart

Facebook-Mark-Zuckerberg-f8.jpgFacebook has launched a new program in a bid to ‘establish stronger ties with the news industry’ and fight the problem of fake news on the site.

The Facebook Journalism Project will see Facebook collaborating with news organisations to develop products, learning from journalists about how the site can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators to create more informed readers.

Facebook says it will collaborate with news partners through the creation of new storytelling formats, such as showing readers multiple Instant Articles at a time; emerging business models, such as offering engaged readers free trials with news organisations from within Instant Articles; and by opening its hackathons up to the developers from news outlets. Facebook also intends to explore the possibility of building with local news partners.

“We can better serve the needs of people on Facebook, and those of our partners, when we work together to develop products,” says Fidji Simo, director of product at Facebook, in a post. “While we’ve worked with our news partners on this in the past, as part of the Facebook Journalism Project we’ll begin an even deeper collaboration with news organizations across the spectrum, connecting our product and engineering teams so that we can build together from the early stages of the product development process.”

As part of the program, Facebook will also be conducting e-learning courses, for journalists, on Facebook products, tools and services. In addition, it is building more tools to help journalists use its Live feature to report and discover news – as well making the recently acquired CrowdTangle free for its partners.

Through the program, Facebook says it intends to promote literacy through its work with schools and universities – with the goal of supporting news organisations with projects, including financial grants where needed.

Simo added: “As we seek to support journalism, we will also be working on new ways to help give people information so they can make smart choices about the news they read — and have meaningful conversations about what they care about. Some of this we’ll do in direct partnership with journalists; at other points we’ll work with educators and researchers.”