Facebook teams up with ABC, Fox News, CNN: Social networking with a dose of news

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, US, April 18, 2017 REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Facebook Inc. yesterday updated its Facebook Journalism Project by announcing partnerships with leading news agencies to create news shows exclusively for the social networking website.

In the partnership, leading media outlets like CNN, ABC and Fox News will be producing news shows funded by Facebook, possibly taking advantage of features like the Facebook Live and polls, while also allowing for monetisation of the show.

Unfortunately for Facebook, several users spotted a typo in the announcement on the Journalism Project webpage, where it read- "We care about supporting high-quality journalism," in the overview section.

The typo has got many people talking online if Facebook is really as committed to quality journalism as they say. Since the company's involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Trump's election campaign have come to light, many fear that Facebook is devaluing journalism and editorial judgement.

The new shows will go live on Watch, Facebook's video platform over the summer. Currently, the company has announced eight shows that will stream but plans to add more over time.

  1. A daily news show from ABC,
  2. "Chasing Corruption" by Alabama's Advance Local
  3. A weekly explainer program from ATTN
  4. "Anderson Cooper Full Circle" by CNN
  5. Daily updates from Fox News' Shepard Smith and others
  6. An untitled show from Mic that will air twice daily
  7. "Real America with Jorge Ramos," by Univision.
  8. A daily news roundup by Univision in Spanish

Cambell Brown, who heads the programme says that the initiative is not to end TV news, but rather to make news more interactive, centred around Facebook's features. As per reports, the social media giant has committed to funding the shows for a year but has not disclosed the amount it costs.

The Facebook Journalism Project was launched in January earlier this year, where the company works closely with journalists to train them in digital tools and product development. It was seen as a way to amplify the reach of local news.

Facebook has had a tough relationship with the media, particularly last year when it changed its algorithms to favour friends over organisations and rate the trustworthiness of a news piece based on user's response rather than multiple expert opinions. It also received flak for its attempt to cross verify the truth of a story by linking it to Wikipedia.

The decision to partner with leading players in Broadcast Media to has received mixed reactions.

While many might argue that Facebook will be less about social networking and more about propagating political agenda disguised as news, others have argued that this partnership, might, in fact, be a boon. With the majority of the youth consuming information through social media interactions, Facebook's new partnership could ensure the authenticity of the news consumed.

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