Facebook launches journalism project to lend a hand to publishers

Facebook and journalism ended 2016 on a rather strained note.

Between the overall struggle for publishers to maintain their legitimacy with readers and the fake news debacle that blew up around the 2016 presidential election, it’s high time someone extended a hand.

In response to these events, Facebook has launched the “Facebook Journalism Project,” which will reportedly include digest packages of Instant Articles that users can subscribe to, free trials for paid subscriptions, hackathons with publishers’ development teams, Facebook tutorials for journalists, public service ads to promote news literacy and fight the fake news epidemic, and more initiatives to prevent false news from spreading.

In addition however, Facebook will now be giving away access to the popular social aggregation platform CrowdTangle for free. Facebook acquired the platform to help reporters sift through viral stories, measure social posts and keep up with sources and influencers.

Furthermore, journalists who post from their standard profile will be able to see basic analytics on the videos they share. The initiative aims to prevent publishers from getting lost in the newsfeed while educating the public on how to be good news readers.

Most importantly however, the Facebook Journalism Project could begin reversing the current trend of commoditizing publishers so that the only important thing is whether the content is consumed on Facebook.

Facebook hasn’t yet outlined how it plans to build out these features or a timeline for their deployment.

Image Credit: Maurizio Pesce