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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)

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Photos-only Mode On Facebook’s Mobile App Under Testing

Facebook's in-app 'photos only' mode is under testing

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Facebook
A photos-only mode for Facebook's mobile application is under testing. Pixabay

A photos-only mode for Facebook’s mobile application is under testing and it would let users see algorithmically suggested photos in a feed similar to its photo sharing platform Instagram.

The feature, named “Popular Photos”, affixes an endless scroll of algorithmically selected images from friends beneath the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. The result is an experience that is similar to Instagram feed, TechCrunch has recently reported.

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Facebook already has Stories, messaging, profiles, and its IGTV-esque Watch video hub. Pixabay

A mode was first spotted in October and the trial has since concluded. The new feature is being worked on with future tests in mind.

Also Read- Instagram Likely to Expand its Private Like Counts Test Globally

The company refused to disclose more details or its motives for Popular Photos. Given Facebook already has Stories, messaging, profiles, and its IGTV-esque Watch video hub, it’s only the Explore tab and a dedicated media feed that are missing from it being a full clone of Instagram, the report added. (IANS)