Facebook News Launches In UK After Deals Signed

Facebook has signed deals with a number of news publishers, so that UK users will begin to receive a tailored news service in a dedicated feed.

The UK is only second country in the world to gain Facebook News after it launched the service in the United States last year.

Facebook announced that it had signed deals with Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. This is in addition with already signed deals The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and many others.

Facebook News

Facebook News is available within the Facebook app as of Tuesday afternoon. It essentially gathers news from a variety of sources and tailors it to each user’s interest.

The new feature is a dedicated tab within the Facebook mobile app, accessible by tapping the three-line icon for more options.

“With Facebook News, people in the UK will see the top headlines and stories of the day next to news personalised to their interests,” wrote Facebook’s Jesper Doub, director news partnerships, Europe in a blog post.

“During major news cycles, Facebook News provides timely news digests, highlighting original and authoritative reporting on the biggest stories,” wrote Doub. “For example, we’re currently highlighting a collection of Covid-19-specific stories, giving people access to timely and relevant news and information about the pandemic.”

“Facebook News gives people control over the stories they see in the app and the ability to explore news on a wide range of topics from a variety of news outlets,” he added. “News articles shared by people and Pages will continue to appear in News Feed, just as they do today.”

The social networking firm that the daily stories are chosen by a team of journalists; and personalisation is based on the news the reads, shares and follows.

There are also news sections to dive deeper into business, entertainment, health, science & tech and sport.

“As we invest more in news and pay publishers for more content in more countries, we will work with them to support the long term viability of newsrooms,” explained Doub. “We also recently announced we’re extending the Community News Project for another year. The £2.25 million annual training fund in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) trained reporters in 80 local newsrooms across the UK, building on the initial £4.5 million investment.”

Publisher battles

The arrival of Facebook News for UK users comes amid years of tensions between social networking giants and traditional news publishers.

Google last week warned it would remove its search engine from Australia because of an incoming law that will force tech firms to pay local publishers for news and other content they link to on their platforms.

Facebook in September also bluntly warned Aussie users it will prevent them sharing local and international news, if Australia presses ahead with this law.

The US Government has also asked Australia to halt the incoming legislation, as Google in June 2020 had already announced the ‘News Showcase’ scheme, which would have seen news publishers in Australia, Brazil, and Germany starting be compensated for the news they produce.

CEO Sundar Pichai pledged $1 billion (£778m) over three years to the scheme, which will be rolled out worldwide.

Google has now halted the rollout of this publisher compensation scheme in Australia.

Google in November signed copyright agreements with six French newspapers and magazines, including Le Monde and Le Figaro.

And last week Google and a French publishers’ lobby agreed a copyright framework under which the US tech giant will pay news publishers for content online.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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