Facebook News launches in the UK

Facebook has announced the full roll-out of Facebook News in the UK, from Tuesday 26th January.

The new feature is accessible from a dedicated tab on the mobile app, that shares articles from several major news outlets in Britain.

Partnering from today are Channel 4 News, Financial Times, Telegraph Media Group, Sky News, Daily Mail Group and DC Thomson. 

This is in addition to The Independent, STV, The Economist and The Guardian who have already partnered with the social platform.

How does Facebook News work?

The tab shares a mixture of curated news, and personalised articles served to users based on interest data that Facebook holds on them.

News outlets will be paid for their content in a bid to support an industry that has struggled to maintain financial flow in the move to digital without introducing paywalls. 

This means that readers will now be able to access content from publications such as The Guardian without paying for it.

Although a great opportunity for media on the surface of the announcement, the real breaker comes with the ownership being on Facebook to decide which articles and publications are shared.

Back in summer 2020, Facebook changed its algorithm to publish stories with ‘transparent authorship’. It was then changed again in November 2020 during the US presidential elections to favour major, authoritative outlets.

The algorithm has now reverted, meaning it’s more of an open playing field and larger outlets are at the mercy of Facebook deciding whether or not to share their content over more outrageous, clickbait articles.

What does this mean for brands?

The biggest plus for brands placing adverts or securing media coverage is that more people will have the opportunity to see the content. This is especially true for pieces secured on outlets that currently have a paywall.

It is unknown what level of reporting will be available if any to brands but it’s something we will be monitoring as the function is rolled out across the UK.

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