Facebook has announced the launch of Facebook News in the U.K. as an investment in journalism. The feature will roll out in January 2021 and will serve as a space for local and national news.
Facebook's aim behind Facebook News is to pay publishers for content that is not already on the platform, help them reach new audiences, and offer more subscription and advertising opportunities.
The group of UK publishers that Facebook has featured in Facebook News includes Archant, Conde Nast, The Economist, ESI Media, Guardian Media Group, Hearst, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midland News Association, Reach, STV and others. They are home to UK’s most popular and loved national and local news brands such as The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, The London Evening Standard, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, The Mirror, The Scotsman, STV and the Yorkshire Post.
In addition to that, Facebook News will also feature lifestyle brands like Red, Harpers, Cosmopolitan, Wired, GQ, Glamour, Vogue and Tatler.
The functionality of Facebook News will include curative and personalized top stories that deliver informative and reliable news. Users will be able to view top news headlines and stories of the day along with the news that they can personalize according to their interests.
During times of significant events, Facebook News will provide timely news digests and highlight authoritative and original news related to important trending topics. It will also help users discover new topics and stories based on the kind of news they read, follow, and share.
Facebook has already observed success with the launch of Facebook News in the US and therefore, expects similar results in the UK. The company has partnered with several news organizations for this purpose and is also planning to introduce Facebook News to France and Germany. ‘'We will continue to work with publishers in countries where market conditions and regulatory environments invite this kind of investment and innovation,’' Facebook says.
In addition, Facebook has also announced the extension of its UK Community News Project with an additional $3M/£2.25M, to support local journalism. The company has trained 80 journalists over the past two years across the UK as part of its Community News Project. ‘' To date, the journalists in the CNP have collectively produced hundreds of front pages and 80% of reporters have achieved print front page bylines or homepage leads within three months of starting in their post,’' says Facebook.
Facebook explains that by the extension of the program, it means providing an additional year of training to over half of the existing journalism trainees. These trainees came to study for the Diploma in Journalism and would now work towards the senior level National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). Not just that, but more new reporters will also be recruited to train in some of the UK’s leading newsrooms as they study for NCTJ qualifications.