Facebook News, a dedicated channel which allows users to access news stories relevant to them, will go live in the UK for the first time this afternoon, the digital giant has announced.
A large number of UK publishers and broadcast news providers have signed up to the initiative which sees Facebook paying to license use of their news content.
Facebook News launched in the US over a year ago and the UK is the first country to see the service rolled out.
Those taking part in the UK include Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, the Financial Times, Sky News, The Guardian, Evening Standard and Independent and Telegraph Media Group as well as magazine groups The Economist, Conde Nast and Hearst.
In the regional press DC Thomson has now joined Archant, Iliffe Media, JPIMedia, Newsquest, the Midland News Association and Reach plc.
Jesper Doub, director of news partnerships for Facebook in Europe, said: “We’ve been partnering with news organisations for many years and our goal has always been to work out the best ways we can support the industry in building sustainable business models.
“This product is a result of those conversations. As we invest more in news and pay publishers for more content in more countries, we will work with them to support the long term viability of newsrooms.
“We also recently announced we’re extending the Community News Project for another year. The £2.25m annual training fund in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists trained reporters in 80 local newsrooms across the UK, building on the initial £4.5m investment.
“Facebook News was built to bring people closer to the stories that impact their lives and the community around them. Our aim is to build on our efforts to sustain great national and local journalism and create more value for publishers.”
The Facebook News section of the platform’s app will feature a “today’s stories” section. A team of journalists will choose the top breaking articles throughout the day.
The channel will be personalised based on the news users read, share and follow.
The tab will also suggest new topics and outlets they might not have read before.
The social media platform said Facebook News would provide publishers with more advertising and subscription opportunities “to build sustainable businesses for the future”.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Authoritative journalism is a cornerstone of democracy and the antidote to dangerous misinformation.
“We want to help the news industry adapt in the digital age, which is why we have cut VAT for online news subscriptions and accepted the CMA’s recommendation for a code of conduct between publishers and platforms.
“UK publishers are seeking a fair business relationship with online platforms so it’s good to see Facebook working to promote their output alongside recent Government action.”
Key features of Facebook News include:
- Today’s stories chosen by a team of journalists to catch up on the latest news as it breaks throughout the day
- Personalisation based on the news you read, share and follow, so you can find new interests and topics from your favourite news outlets or publications you haven’t previously followed, creating a fresh and interesting experience every time
- News sections to dive deeper into business, entertainment, health, science & tech and sport
- Controls to make sure you see the articles, topics or publishers you want to see and hide those you don’t.