Facebook announces ‘breaking news’ label for news publishers

Local media companies included in the test are ABC, Seven, Nine, Fairfax and News Corp Australia.

Facebook has announced that it is enabling publishers to label breaking news on the platform.

The move comes as part of a recent commitment from the company to show more high-quality news.

Facebook has been running a test in the US, allowing a small group of local and national publishers to identify and label breaking news. The test is now expanding to more than 50 additional publishers in other markets, including Australia.

Local media companies included in the test are ABC, Seven, Nine, Fairfax and News Corp Australia.

On this announcement, Facebook ANZ MD and Vice-President Will Easton said:

“We’re really excited to have Australian publishers take part in the pilot. Facebook’s mission is to connect people. One of the ways people connect is by sharing news with friends and family, particularly timely, important news.

“This pilot – involving the ABC, Seven, Nine, Fairfax and News Corp – will make those breaking news stories stand out more in News Feed. If the test is successful, we’ll release the feature more widely.”

According to Facebook product manager Joey Rhyu, users included in the experiment engaged more with posts labelled as breaking news.

How it works:

• Publishers in the test will be able to label Instant Articles, mobile and web links, and Facebook Live as breaking news.

• They can use the indicator once a day, setting how long the story is marked as breaking for (up to 6 hours).

• Publishers also have an extra pool of 5 indicators per month.

• The posts will appear in News Feed and there will be information in Page Insights so that publishers can track how their tagged posts perform.

• Readers will also be able to provide feedback when they don’t consider a story to be breaking news by clicking in the top-right drop-down menu of a post.

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