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Facebook hiring journalists to curate its new News Tab

By AFP - Aug 21,2019 - Last updated at Aug 21,2019

In this file photo taken on March 22, 2018, an illustration picture taken on March 22, 2018 in Paris shows a close-up of the Facebook logo in the eye of an AFP collaborator posing while she looks at a flipped logo of Facebook (AFP file photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook on Tuesday confirmed plans for a News Tab that will be edited by seasoned journalists, in a departure from its longstanding practice of letting algorithms dictate a user’s experience.

A human team will select relevant, reliable breaking and top news stories.

Other sections of the tab will rely on algorithms to figure out a user’s interests based on “signals” such as pages followed, interactions with online news or subscriptions to publications.

“Our goal with the News Tab is to provide a personalised, highly relevant experience for people,” Facebook head of news partnerships Campbell Brown told AFP.

“For the Top News section of the tab we’re pulling together a small team of journalists to ensure we’re highlighting the right stories.”

However the majority of stories people see will be determined by software, according to Brown.

The tab would be separate from the trademark news feed at Facebook that displays updates and content from people’s friends.

Facebook Watch already allows users to peruse news shows funded by the social network and other on-demand online content.

California-based Facebook has launched an array of initiatives to support or bolster journalism in recent years as social media has been under intense pressure to avoid becoming a tool to spread misinformation.

“Working with news industry to get Facebook’s News Tab right is our goal and focus this year,” Brown said earlier this month in a tweet.

“Still early days but we are getting tremendous partner feedback on the product. I believe we can provide people on Facebook a better news experience.”

Facebook will reportedly pay some publishers to license news content for the tab.

Earlier this year, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said he wanted “to make sure that to the extent that we can, we’re funding as much high-quality journalism as possible”.

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