After Successful U.S. Launch, Facebook Sets Global News Rollout By 2021

Facebook’s latest news publishing effort appears to be going well.

After achieving solid traction in the United States, Facebook is taking its News service abroad.

“The U.S. launch of Facebook News marked a new chapter in our relationship with the news industry and it’s off to a strong start,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships, notes in a new post. 

Built with publisher feedback and insights from people, the service is a personalized destination for news within Facebook, according to Brown.

Among other impressive numbers, Brown said that approximately 95% of the traffic Facebook News delivers to publishers is incremental to the traffic they already get from News Feed.

Within the next year, the plan is to launch Facebook News in multiple countries, including the U.K., Germany, France, India and Brazil. 

“In each country, we’ll pay news publishers to ensure their content is available in the new product,” according to Brown.

Brown recognizes that consumer habits and news inventory vary by country, so her team plans to work closely with news partners in each country to tailor the experience and test ways to deliver a competitive product in each region. 

Following a prolonged testing phase, Facebook finally began offering its News service to all U.S. users in June.

As of this summer, the tech giant had signed on about 200 news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed and USA Today.

In exchange for their content, Facebook was reportedly offering publishers up to $3 million in annual licensing fees.

Upon its original unveiling, the News service was widely seen as a potential threat to Apple’s News Plus, while it represented a significant realigning of Facebook’s content priorities.

Since then, the media landscape has been rocked by the pandemic and the civil-rights movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

News organizations were already wary of working with Facebook after it rolled out a big news push several years ago, only to later backtrack and drop the initiative.

Even before the civil unrest brought about by Floyd’s death, earlier this year, U.S. consumers were uneasy about the power that social giants possessed as news gatekeepers. A clear majority of Americans (62%) said social giants like Facebook have too much control over the news people see on their platforms, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center.

Further, a majority of Americans (55%) told Pew the role social-media companies play in delivering the news on their platforms results in a worse mix of news.

To address concerns of political bias and other content issues, Facebook formed a curation team to manage the Today’s Stories section of Facebook News. The team has editorial independence and is responsible for selecting stories based on publicly available guidelines.

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