Facebook came under fire back in November last year when several critics decried the amount of fake news circulating on the platform. The situation escalated to the point where the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out about the measures it was undertaking to curb the epidemic.
The newly-announced Facebook Journalism Project is part of this effort. The site says the program is meant to establish stronger ties between itself and the news industry, paving the path for a healthy news ecosystem where journalism can thrive.
Firstly, the Facebook Journalism Project plans to collaborate more deeply with partners to develop new products and storytelling formats. It also wants to develop its existing mediums such as Live and Instant Articles so that they better suit a publication’s needs.
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For instance, Facebook is starting tests to evaluate whether it’s feasible to present packages of Instant Articles for a news organization’s most engaged readers so that they can read several stories at once. The social networking website is also looking to organize hackathons for developers at news organizations, support local news, and explore emerging business models.
The last could bring about a subscription service for participating companies and an expansion in ad breaks in videos to a wider group of partners. Secondly, the Facebook Journalism Project wants to conduct e-learning courses on Facebook tools and services for journalists. It even plans to launch a certificate curriculum for them over the course of the next few months.
Facebook is further going to aid eyewitness media by helping organizations like First Draft develop a virtual verification community. It also plans to build more tools for Live, allowing page administrators to designate journalists as contributors so they can broadcast in real-time on behalf of the page.
Finally, the Journalism Project is set to work on new ways to equip people with the information they need to navigate the news. Facebook’s going to do so by promoting news literacy so that members can make informed decisions about which sources to trust. It’s also looking to limit fake news by partnering with third-party fact checking firms and disrupting financial incentives for spammers.