December 6, 2016
Facebook is reportedly working on a new feature, dubbed Collections, that presents curated content from publishers in News Feed. Collections is similar to Snapchat’s Discover section, where selected news outlets can showcase news stories, videos and other content. The move is seen both as another way that Facebook is copying rival Snapchat, and, at the same time, battling the scourge of fake news that came to the fore during the U.S. presidential election. Facebook did not comment on the development.
Business Insider reports that Collections media partners will get “direct — and potentially much broader — access to the social network’s vast audience of 1.8 billion users.” Today, to get content into News Feed, publishers must “either garner likes from users … or pay to boost their exposure through Facebook’s sponsored-post program.”
Among the unknowns is if Collections will include advertising and, if so, “whether Facebook will share the ad revenue with publishers or offer publishers an option to monetize the content themselves, as it currently does with its Instant Articles service.” Also to be revealed is if Facebook will share data about readers with publishers, “and how easy it will be for publishers to bring readers to their websites.”
Facebook has historically had, says BI, “difficulty getting directly involved with news curation.” The most recent, failed venture was the breaking news app Notify, which the company shut down earlier this year after seven months of operation. Its Trending news section was also criticized this year when its editors were accused of “purposely suppressing conservative-leaning news items from appearing on the list.”
With regard to Facebook’s problem with fake news, The Verge mentions that Snapchat has avoided that problem via “strict oversight of what its partners are delivering to users.”