Facebook and Storyful are partnering to create a newsfeed of newsworthy content, originally published on Facebook by its users, to encourage journalists to use the social media site as a source of user generated content.
Called FB Newswire, the new Facebook page will be available publicly and updated in real time with photos, videos, and status updates across a spectrum of topics, including breaking news, entertainment, and sports. Posts will also be shared on, ironically enough, a dedicated Twitter account. The newsfeed is part of Facebook’s effort to continue to market itself to journalists as a news-gathering tool.
Facebook is of course a major source of traffic referrals for many news organizations — half of BuzzFeed’s desktop traffic arrives from Facebook, for instance — but it wants to continue to improve its utility as a content gathering tool, said Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s director of news and global media partnerships.
“In addition to the value we’re delivering with referrals, if we can help surface content that is relevant to the journalism that they are creating, that will just further the relationship between Facebook and the news industry,” Mitchell said.
When looking for user-generated content, many journalists might first look to places like Twitter and YouTube over Facebook — not least because Facebook posts often come with some level of privacy settings. Still, there are 2.46 million pieces of content posted to Facebook per minute, and Facebook wants to emphasize the wealth of what is available on the social network. (Facebook also owns the photo-sharing service Instagram, but FB Newswire will be initially limited to just Facebook content.)
FB Newswire is just the latest move Facebook has made in recent months to promote newsworthy content as it has tweaked its News Feed and search algorithms, introduced trending topics, and added hashtag functionality. Facebook’s recent Paper app also drives home the social giant’s increased interest in the news space. Even as Twitter gets ragged on in some corners for a Facebookish redesign, Facebook is clearly trying to take some of the news mojo that Twitter’s built up. As David Leonhardt, editor of The New York Times’ new The Upshot, put it to us this week:
Journalists really like Twitter. You don’t have to twist most journalists’ arms, particularly the journalists who are doing this kind of work, to spend time on Twitter. It comes naturally to them…You do have to give them a little nudge to spend time on Facebook. But Facebook’s really important.
Facebook decided to partner with Storyful because it specializes in locating and verifying user generated content from across the social web: “This is basically what they do,” Mitchell said. “This is their reason for being. They’ve developed an expertise.”
For Storyful, which will run the page, FB Newswire serves as an opportunity to showcase its brand and products to a larger audience, said Aine Kerr, Storyful’s managing editor: “We hope this is really going to show off what we can do.” (Storyful was bought by News Corp last December for $25 million, and it counts The New York Times, the BBC, and other major news brands among its clients.)
Each post on FB Newswire will allow users or news organizations to embed posts like any other Facebook post, but it will also link back to the Facebook page where the content originated. Storyful will provide short written context for each post as well as relevant hashtags. Users will also be able to comment on the FB Newswire posts, and Kerr said Storyful is looking forward to the feedback journalists will be able to provide on the content they post.
Kerr said Storyful’s goal is to provide newsrooms with access to content and information that they might not typically have access to. “We want to start to help users and newsrooms tell stories from different parts of the world,” she said.