Facebook planning on hiring a team of journalists to curate its ‘News Tab’ section

Facebook reportedly said that it could release a test for the News Tab by the end of this year

To deliver appropriate content on your Facebook timeline or News Feed, the social network giant has solely used algorithms. Now, Facebook is trying its hands again at curating news for its users and it wants only humans to take control of it. The company announced its plans to get a “small team” of journalists to curate a ‘News Tab’ section.

Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook's F8 developers conference. Image: Reuters.

Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook's F8 developers conference. Image: Reuters.

A kind of news section existed on Facebook earlier called ‘Trending Topics’ that would highlight some of the most popular news and trends on the platform. It was curated by independent contractors hired by Facebook with some help from algorithms. However, in 2016, the section got into a lot of controversy such as being accused of suppressing conservative news and amping up fake news. Eventually, Facebook pulled the plug on Trending Topics in 2018.

This time, Facebook plans to hire journalists as full-time employees of the company rather than contractors like last time. The team of less than 10 (for now) will be spread out in the US with one located in London, according to Digiday. As per a statement by Facebook’s head of news partnerships Campbell Brown to The New York Times, most of the stories in this new section will be sorted and ranked by algorithms. However, the team of journalists will be curating and highlighting the most important news of the day.

The News Tab will be placed in a different section from the News Feed. We think it could be a highlighted column just like the discontinued Trending Topics section. Facebook is going to start testing the new section for selected parts of its user-base in the US by the end of October this year.

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