Facebook's Director of Products Fidji Simo
Facebook's Director of Products Fidji Simo. Image: ONA 16.

Facebook revealed today its Journalism Project, dedicated to creating a seeming safe space for quality journalism and to establish a stronger relationship with the news industry. The company will collaborate with an unspecified number of news organizations to make this a reality.

In a blog post, Fidji Simo, Director of Product, wrote the company understood the value of “sharing and discussing ideas and news.” The Project will seek to “equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.”

Following the company’s recent scandals related to fake news, this project could be Facebook’s first official proposal for a way to counter the waves of misinformation currently plaguing the Internet.

Facebook’s Project will give journalism a new face on the site

Their first goal is ‘collaborative development,’ meaning that they will work in close collaboration with news outlets to “better serve the needs of people” on the site.

They have not specified exactly what the Project is about, but the article paints it as a sort of platform for a new way to experience news content on Facebook.

Simo also mentions new ‘storytelling formats.’ She proposes a new feature that might come to the website soon with Instant Articles, where readers will be able to see ‘multiple stories at a time’ from their preferred news outlets.

More support to local news organizations is also on the table, along with empowerment for emerging business models. Facebook’s famous ‘Hackathons’ will also extend to this field.

The company will offer tools and training for both journalists and the general public

Facebook already provides newsroom training, but it plans to conduct a series of e-learning courses related to this matter. Also, its recent purchase of CrowdTangle, a platform for content discovery, will go into this project.

Promoting news literacy is also one of their primary goals and one that will prove critical in the age of fake news. They are currently working with the News Literacy Project to produce a series of PSA ads to inform people about hoaxes and responsibility with news content.

The Project also includes a branch that will work with Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles and institutions that abide by it. This endeavor marks the company’s first dedicated effort against misinformation.

A significant portion of Facebook’s profit has come from fake news websites, which tend to generate substantial clicks.

Many journalists have complained of the site’s passiveness regarding this important issue, which has had real-world consequences recently.

Source: Facebook