Facebook will employ veteran journalists to edit its news tab, the company said on Tuesday. With this move, Facebook is finally parting ways from its longstanding practise of letting artificial intelligence (AI) based algorithms dictate a user's news tab experience. A human team comprising of seasoned journalists will pick relevant, reliable breaking news and top news stories. Other sections of the tab will continue to rely on algorithms to figure out a user's interests based on "signals." For example, the algorithms will take into account users' interests based on pages they follow, in addition to their interactions with online news or subscriptions to news publications.
"Our goal with the News Tab is to provide a personalised, highly relevant experience for people," Facebook head of news partnerships Campbell Brown said.
"For the Top News section of the tab we're pulling together a small team of journalists to ensure we're highlighting the right stories." However, the majority of stories people see will be determined by software, according to Brown.
Facebook's news tab will be separate from Facebook's trademark news feed that displays updates and content from people's friends. Facebook Watch already allows users to peruse news shows funded by the social network and other on-demand online content. Facebook has launched an array of initiatives to support or bolster journalism in recent years as social media has been under intense pressure to avoid becoming a tool to spread misinformation. Earlier this year, Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted "to make sure that to the extent that we can, we're funding as much high-quality journalism as possible.
"Working with news industry to get Facebook's News Tab right is our goal and focus this year," Brown said earlier this month in a tweet.
"Still early days but we are getting tremendous partner feedback on the product. I believe we can provide people on Facebook a better news experience." Facebook will reportedly pay some publishers to license news content for the tab.
(With agency inputs)