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Facebook rolls out “a new destination for news” in the UK: Will pay publishers for content

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Facebook has started rolling out Facebook News—a destination within its app that features news from hundreds of leading national, local and lifestyle outlets—across the UK. 

Users will now be able to access stories from the Economist, Guardian, Daily Mail and more in a dedicated feed on the Facebook app.

Earlier, Facebook News was only available within their app for US users, and just like in the US, the dedicated, curated news portal can be accessed through a tab in the Android or iOS app menu.

The product puts original journalism in front of new audiences and provides publishers with more advertising and subscription opportunities. Also, Facebook will pay publishers for their content.

The deal, which will earn leading publishers millions, will be a financial boost as they face a bleak economic landscape, in part because such a large proportion of the ad market is now controlled by the social network.

Archie Bland, a senior reporter for the Guardian

Jesper Doub, Facebook Europe’s Director News Partnerships, calls it “the beginning of a series of international investments in news.”

We’re also announcing a number of new partners for Facebook News, including Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. These are in addition to outlets already announced including The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and hundreds of local news sites from Archant, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midlands News Association and Reach as well as lifestyle outlets such as GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue and many more. 

Jesper Doub, Facebook

According to the company, with Facebook News, users will see the top headlines and stories of the day next to news personalised to their interests. 

During major news cycles, Facebook News will provide timely news digests, highlighting original and authoritative reporting on the biggest stories. For example, the product is currently highlighting a collection of COVID-19-specific stories, providing access to timely and relevant news and information about the pandemic. 

Facebook News also gives users control over the stories they see in the app, and the ability to explore news on a wide range of topics from a variety of news outlets. News articles shared by people and Pages will continue to appear in News Feed, just as they do today. 

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 users read, share and follow, so they can find new interests and topics 
  • News sections to dive deeper into business, entertainment, health, science & tech and sport
  • Controls to help users see the articles, topics or publishers they want to see and hide those they don’t.
Screenshots of Facebook News UK

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. 

Jesper Doub, Facebook

Facebook News will gradually roll out into other markets, including France and Germany, where the company is in active negotiations with partners.

“Our aim is to build on our efforts to sustain great national and local journalism and create more value for publishers,” Jesper concluded.