Facebook announced in August that it intends to add a news tab to its application. The idea is that users will be able to get relevant news from the sources they trust curated by Facebook. While this might seem like it’s good news for the average reader, the tech giant’s commercial distribution system for their news tab appears to be a bit unbalanced. Less than a quarter of the news outlets providing the social media giant with content will be paid for their contributions. It is assumed that the rest will benefit from the clicks that Facebook sends their way. Some reports put the amount Facebook is willing to pay national contributors as high as $3 million annually.
Three Year Deals the Norm
When the initial announcement about the news tab dropped, the social media giant made mention of signing three-year contracts with providers. The details of those contracts were not made public, however. Along with the news agencies providing the company with content, Facebook also has its own internal team during curation of the news stories. The intention is to weed out blatantly untrue stories, hopefully. Reportedly, Facebook has established editorial guidelines for the individuals working on this particular task for the company, in the hopes that they can mirror an international-level news agency.
Questionable Political Messages
The ongoing anti-trust suits that have come up against big tech in recent months have stemmed directly from the fact that search engines or companies like Facebook censor non-liberal information. While no one is aware of what the guidelines that the curators have may be, it must be noted that the social media site has gotten flak in the past for burying conservative news and viewpoints. There is no guarantee that those hired by Facebook will allow stories that criticize their political ideology to show up on the news tab. The idea is an excellent attempt to slow or stop the spread of misinformation. However, handing this power to a social media site may be bad news.