NEW YORK - Facebook announced launching its own journalism project, continuing its efforts to change the way media organizations work with the social network. The move could be seen as an extension of its vow earlier this year to crack down on fake news.
Facebook said in a company blog post that it will work with news organizations including The Washington Post, Fox News, Germany's Bild and Spain's El País to create products that could present stories in new ways. The Facebook Journalism Project will also try to improve the media literacy of its users, the company said a key suggestion that media scholars offered the site as it continues to grapple with the spread of misinformation.
Facebook outlined 10 key points that it hopes to address with the project. These include working with news organizations on new storytelling formats and ways to present stories which, in turn, will show up in users' news feeds.
Facebook's struggle with defining its place in the media world has played out publicly over the past several months, coming to a head just after the November election. Some questioned whether fake news articles passed around on the site could have influenced the outcome. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the possibility as “extremely unlikely”.
But continued questions about Facebook and other tech firms' responsibility to vet news or curtail misinformation led to Facebook announcing that it would begin submitting stories reported as false to third-party fact-checking sites and then labeling stories that were found to be “disputed.”
The new project has the same philosophy as Facebook's announcement late last year that it had a responsibility to reduce fake news on its site, said Justin Osofsky, Facebook's vice president of global operations and media partnerships.
“This is, in some ways, a continuation of those efforts,” he said.
What, exactly, any of this will look like is yet to be determined. Wednesday's announcement is meant to spark discussions, Osofsky said, and lead to new partnerships.
“This is us announcing a road map. We can't have all the answers,” he said.
But there are ideas. Shailesh Prakash, the chief information officer for The Post, said that at a high level, he's looking to develop products that go beyond the traditional Facebook feed and explore the company's other businesses such as virtual reality and messaging.