Today, Facebook unveiled FB Newswire, a service designed to help journalists find up-to-the-minute information about world news events on the social network. Whenever news is breaking, FB Newswire will have a post on its page with a short synopsis of the event, hashtags people are using to discuss the event on Facebook, and usually a photo or video illustrating what’s going on along with contact information for whoever posted it.
Facebook users don’t need to worry about a bunch of writers sifting through their posts, either. The service only draws on posts that are shared with the public, so it’s unlikely that a discussion among friends would end up on the evening news.
Newswire is part of a partnership between Facebook and Storyful, a company that provides social media discovery products for journalists. It’s aimed at making the social network more accessible for newsrooms, so it’s more likely that they use Facebook content in their stories about breaking news.
It’s another salvo from Facebook aimed at drawing journalists away from Twitter, where it’s easier to search for breaking news in real time, compared to Facebook. Because of that difference, journalists have been more likely in the past to turn to Twitter for breaking news, even though Facebook has a significantly larger user base. As reporters turn to early social media reports more and more as sources of information, FB Newswire could help make content available on Facebook more accessible than it has been in the past.
Past initiatives from the social network have included tweaks to the News Feed algorithm that help expose users to “high quality” content, along with adding the ability for people to embed Facebook posts into web pages outside the social network. The initiatives seem to have helped, with the company saying in a press release today that referral traffic from Facebook to media sites quadrupled in 2013.