San Francisco (AFP) – Facebook on Wednesday announced its first original news shows for the social network, joining other online platforms producing video to compete with television.
The news shows will be produced for Facebook by a variety of partners including CNN, Fox News, ABC News and Univision.
The programs are producing the social network’s on-demand video service called Facebook Watch, which is part of an effort to compete with platforms such as Google-owned YouTube, and potentially develop a wider following.
Facebook said the launch of news shows was also aimed at offering its members “trusted” content following concerns that the platform was used to spread misinformation.
“Earlier this year we made a commitment to show news that is trustworthy, informative, and local on Facebook,” said a statement from Facebook news partnerships chief Campbell Brown.
“As a part of that commitment, we are creating a dedicated section within Watch for news shows produced exclusively for Facebook by news publishers. With this effort, we are testing a destination for high quality and timely news content on the platform.”
The first programs include ABC’s “On Location” featuring contribution from the network’s journalists from around the globe; CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle” featuring the popular CNN host; and “Fox News Update” hosted by chief news anchor Shepard Smith.
Facebook last week said it was getting rid of a “trending” topics feature as it tests ways for publishers to deliver reliable breaking news.
The Trending feature introduced four years ago listed stories buzzing on Facebook at any given time.
“We’re exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources,” Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s head of news products, said in a blog post.
Facebook and other social media platforms have been criticized for their role in allowing disinformation to spread during the 2016 US election, in many cases with the help of automated “bots” or disguised Russian-based accounts.
Trending was only available in a handful of countries, and accounted for a paltry fraction of clicks through to news publishers, according to Hardiman.
Facebook said it is working with 80 publishers in Australia, Europe, India, and the Americas on a “Breaking News” label to adorn posts in News Feed.
The California-based social network is also testing a “Today” section dedicated to “breaking and important news” from local publishers, officials and organizations, according to Hardiman.
Facebook Watch zone for online video viewing will get a news section complete with live coverage, daily briefings, and “deep dives,” he added.