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Facebook Introduces a Dedicated “News” Feature on its Platform

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg declined to talk about why Breitbart was included, but said that for the news section to be a trustworthy source, it must include a diverse range of views

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

In what could spell trouble for already struggling local newsrooms globally, Facebook has introduced a dedicated “News” feature on its platform that will highlight the most relevant national stories of the day.

Currently available for users in the US, the tab will give 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, the company said in a statement on Friday.

News articles will continue to appear in News Feed as they do now.

Under the dedicated “News” tab, Today’s Stories: will be chosen by a team of journalists.

It will allow personalisation based on the news you read, share and follow.

The “News” tab will have topic sections to dive deeper into the business, entertainment, health, science and tech and sports.

“Subscriptions will be a section for people who have linked their paid news subscriptions to their Facebook account and they will have control to hide articles, topics and publishers they don’t want to see,” said Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships at Facebook.

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The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

According to Facebook, it aims to serve both people and news publishers, and not just the big national players.

“We want new forms of journalism in the digital age, including individual, independent journalism, to flourish. So we will continue to expand the algorithmic selection of stories driving the majority of Facebook News,” said the company.

Facebook News will feature a wide range of content across four categories of publishers: general, topical, diverse and local news.

During the initial test, Facebook will showcase local original reporting by surfacing local publications from the largest major metro areas across the US.

Also Read: Tech Giant Google Tweaks Search to Throw More Relevant Results

“In the coming months, we’ll include local news from the Today In, our local news and community information tab, which recently expanded to over 6,000 US towns and cities,” said Facebook.

The first 200 news outlets include “alt-right” Breitbart News, despite its history of white nationalism and propagating racist conspiracies.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg declined to talk about why Breitbart was included, but said that for the news section to be a trustworthy source, it must include a diverse range of views. (IANS)

Next Story

US Judge Orders Facebook to Disclose Malicious Apps’ Data: Report

The social networking giant found that the apps -- primarily social media management and video streaming apps -- retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface)

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

As part of a probe ordered in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal involving 87 million users, a US judge has ordered Facebook to hand over data of thousands of apps that violated its user privacy.

Facebook admitted last year that it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps for possible privacy violations.

A Massachusetts judge rejected the social networking giant’s attempts to withhold the key details from state investigators, The Washington Post said in a report on Friday.

“We are disappointed that the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Court didn’t fully consider our arguments on well-established law. We are reviewing our options, including appeal,” a Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone was quoted as saying in the report.

Maura Healey, the Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts, said: “We are pleased that the Court ordered Facebook to tell our office which other app developers may have engaged in conduct like Cambridge Analytica.”

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The state of Massachusetts launched the probe last September after Facebook admitted that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps on its platform as a result of its review on privacy practices launched following the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

The review, launched in 2018, followed revelations that the political consultancy hijacked personal data on millions of Facebook users and included attorneys, external investigators, data scientists, engineers, policy specialists and others, according to a Facebook statement.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal resulted in a record-breaking, $5 billion fine for Facebook from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Also Read: I Fall in Love with India Every Time I Return Here: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

In November 2019, Facebook revealed that at least 100 app developers may have accessed Facebook users’ data for months, confirming that at least 11 partners “accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days”.

The social networking giant found that the apps — primarily social media management and video streaming apps — retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API (application programming interface). (IANS)