Facebook Unveils FB Newswire

To say reporters are obsessed with Twitter would be an understatement: what with our lust for novelty and teeny-tiny attention spans, many of us spend so much time with the little blue bird it’s surprising we get any work done (some of us don’t). But Facebook is setting out to challenge Twitter’s dominance in the journalistic world with a new news service, FB Newswire, created in collaboration with Storyful and tailored to editorial needs.

According to Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s director of news and global media partnerships, FB Newswire is intended to help journalists and editors discover and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in their news content, as well as find primary sources to inform coverage of big events. The service aggregates content that has been shared publicly on Facebook by both individuals and organizations, including photos, video, and status updates from around the world. Fittingly, FB Newswire also has a feed you can follow on Twitter. 

Users who follow the Newswire will see popular stories shared by the service in their News Feed, making it sort of comparable to Twitter’s “Discover” page, highlighting the best content on the network at that time. The partnership with Storyful will help Facebook ensure that content is accurate, relevant, and presented in a format that makes it easy for journos to access it. Fittingly, you can also follow FB Newswire on Twitter. 

Mitchell noted: “News is finding a bigger audience on Facebook than ever before. Journalists and media organizations have become an integral part of Facebook, which is visible in features like Trending Topics, improvements to Pages, and recent changes to News Feed. Publishers are seeing the results of our commitment, with referral traffic from Facebook to media sites growing more than 4x in 2013, and we’re excited to deepen our relationship with media organizations and journalists in the days to come.”

It will be interesting to see if FB Newswire can gain traction against Twitter, which as noted has all the momentum among journos right now. In its favor, news industry types are a curious bunch, so I imagine many will at least check it out, and it may very well become a useful resource for gathering information for stories. But unless they can build a direct audience as easily as they acquired (and continue to acquire) Twitter followings, it will be hard to get them to actually begin posting stories on Facebook rather than, or in addition to, Twitter.   

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