Facebook is going to add a special section in its Watch tab that features breaking news coverage. Campbell Brown, the company's news partnerships head, made the announcement during a Code Media conference in California, and it serves just part of Facebook's renewed news strategy parcel.
Facebook rolled out Watch in August 2017 as a dedicated section for watching content on Facebook. The company is trying to think of ways on how to make the video service distinct from the usual experience one would get from watching content from the news feed, and there's even reported plans for Watch to compete with YouTube. It being the site's dedicated distributing tool for videos makes it the perfect venue for legitimate news, so the move makes a lot of sense.
Facebook's Video Experiments
Facebook has long been trying to experiment what it should do with video. In 2016 it launched a video tab that featured only generic videos, most of them shared by friends and relatives. But with Watch being more sophisticated, Facebook wants to deliver original content that can't be found elsewhere.
Rivals such as Snap and YouTube often have their own original content as well, but Facebook including news as part of its video strategy is a huge move forward, not only in terms of engagement, but also in making sure that Facebook becomes a platform where legitimate, fact-checked, and objective news can be found.
There's been a lot of criticism of late targeted at Facebook for failing to deal with its fake news problem, a long-gestating problem that grew tremendously potent during the peak of the 2016 presidential election, the outcome of which some critics blamed Facebook for.
Is Facebook A Media Company?
Though initially he refused to acknowledge Facebook's faults, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a change of heart and has vowed to make Facebook a better place overall where people connect, share ideas, and discuss productively. That's a tall order for any internet company, but by starting with delivering real, objective news, it's putting itself on the right track.
Still, however, Brown reiterates the idea that Facebook shouldn't be the main source for news.
"People don't come to Facebook for news, they come to Facebook for friends and family," he said. There's some truth to that, to be fair, but if one looks at what these people pass around, most of them are news items.
What do you think about the upcoming news section on Facebook Watch? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!