The social media network, Facebook, says it is testing a “news tab” to “bring people closer to the stories that affect their lives.”
According to the organisation, Facebook News gives people more control over the stories they see, and the ability to explore a wider range of their news interests, directly within the Facebook app.
It also highlights the most relevant national stories of the day. News articles will continue to appear in News Feed as they do today.
According to Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships and Mona Sarantakos, Product Manager, the platform emphasised the critical role of journalism in sustaining democracy.
“Journalism plays a critical role in our democracy. When news is deeply-reported and well-sourced it gives people information they can rely on. When it’s not, we lose an essential tool for making good decisions.”
The platform is a dedicated place for news on Facebook, for now, ”to a subset of people in the U.S.” to give them more control over the stories they see, and the ability to explore a wider range of their news interests, directly within the Facebook app.
Facebook News will feature a wide range of content across four categories of publishers: general, topical, diverse and local news.
The company said it consulted at length with major publishers and surveyed more than 100,000 Facebook users to design the Facebook News initiative.
The News tab will emphasise stories about entertainment, health, business and sports, based on the interests that were reported in the survey of users.
Facebook said during the initial test, it will showcase local original reporting by surfacing local publications from the largest major metro areas across the country, beginning with New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta and Boston.
”In the coming months, Facebook will include local news and community information tab, which recently expanded to over 6,000 US towns and cities,” it added.