Facebook announced a new initiative Wednesday, the Facebook Journalism Project, designed to strengthen relationships with publishers and journalists and stop the kinds of hoaxes that became prevalent during election season.
In a blog post, Facebook Director of Product Fidji Simo wrote that the new initiative will focus on three main areas: working with publishers to develop news products, training for journalists and training and tools for the public.
“We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, and as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive,” Simo wrote.
In the past, Facebook has declined to acknowledge its role in the media landscape, where it amounts to the world’s largest publisher. The company has landed in hot water for exercising influence over the content people see in their News Feed in the past. Facebook is particularly concerned about losing users over allegations of censorship.
Moves like this new journalism project go along with a recent acceptance of its impact on media and a push to examine how it handles news. In response to criticism over the dissemination of fake news on Facebook, the company in December announced plans to roll out new tools to fight hoaxes.
As part of the journalism project, Facebook says it will work closely with news organizations to build products that will help them tell stories. Facebook wants to expand on products like Facebook Live and Instant Articles and find ways to promote local news and independent media.
Facebook is known for its hackathons, and the company wants to bring in developers from news organizations for journalism-oriented hackathons.
In addition to working with news organizations, Facebook plans to offer online courses on the products and services it offers for journalists. It is also adding its current trainings in nine new languages and plans to work with Poynter to create a certificate curriculum for journalists.