Facebook Shifts Gear In News Unit Amid Misinformation Scrutiny
Facebook reportedly started seeking deals with some of the world's biggest news providers as the social media platform steps up its game in its news unit. Experts believe the move is the company's way of showing that it wants to redeem itself following the backlash over fake news on the platform.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has reportedly offered up to $3 million for a 12-month contract that includes licensing rights with some big news outlets. The proposed deals are still in the early stages of discussion.
Among the companies that reportedly received proposals from Facebook is The Washington Post, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, and Disney's ABC News. The news outlets have yet to confirm if they are keen on signing deals with the social network.
Earlier speculations suggested that Facebook is looking to launch a section on the platform that is dedicated solely for news articles. It has yet to be confirmed if news publishers can get full control of the way their articles are posted on the platform.
On Thursday, the social network confirmed to CNBC that it is expecting to launch the news tab feature sometime this fall. It appears that the company has set its eyes to ensure that it stands by CEO Mark Zuckerberg's earlier statements that he wants users to "get trustworthy news."
Facebook's latest move is closely tied to the onslaught of criticisms from the news industry regarding the platform's use of news content at no cost. Since the network is making money through ads, the news outlets have been complaining that Facebook's gains are their losses.
The report is timely as the network's third-party fact-checking partners said late last month that the company may not be doing enough to put an end to the ongoing misinformation on the platform.
One of Facebook's partners, Full Fact, said the platform should be sharing more relevant data so fact-checkers will easily track false news that are infiltrating the portals. The company currently works with 54 partners in the fact-checking unit.
Director of FactCheck.org, Eugene Kiely, echoed Full Fact's sentiments. Kiely said FactCheck has not yet received the necessary data required to determine whether the platform's misinformation-blocking system is effective or not.
Meanwhile, Facebook continues its crackdown on pages and profiles that promote violence, hate speech, racism, and other content that encourage unhealthy discussions on the social media platform.
It remains to be seen if the network can secure deals with news outlets before its new tab is launched this fall. After all, it was not confirmed if the $3 million funds Facebook has for licensing rights is for the entire project or will be given to individual publishers.