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Facebook Tests ‘Breaking News’ Feature

Written by Daniel
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Facebook recently revealed that it is testing a ‘Breaking News’ label with selected publishers in the US. Lee, Chris & Jamie discuss how this could help shape the future of the platform. For more videos like this make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

See below for the full video transcription.



Lee: So, the final subject we’re going to cover is Facebook rolling out a “Breaking News” label. It’s just another thing that they’re doing as a test run as a way of giving publishers a bit more creative flexibility. I think it touches on maybe going after a little bit Twitter with the way in which the content is put out. I assume that it’s just going to be a label within the feed that’s breaking and you’ll get a notification in the same way which you do with Live.

Chris: It’s just a little red label that you get over the articles and I think it’s applicable for any web link, Instant Article. So, you’ll get a little red label that appears on the ad, but they’ve not decided yet whether they’re rolling it out or not. It’s still in testing. It’s only been in the U.S…

Jamie: Is that something that you’d be able to filter on. So you’d be able to say, “Just show me all the breaking news.”

Chris: Quite possibly, but I think there’s a broader conversation around this, and I think it ties in with the changes that they’ve made. Obviously that they announced a while back about clearing the feed up and obviously getting publishers to work a little bit harder to get more quality content out there. So, I think this is one of the first biggest steps in that direction where they say, “Right, we’re tidying it up. We’re trying to give you more tidy, relevant, you know, content that, you know, people are going to be attracted by.”

I think what it will do is it will push publishers to get on to that breaking news straight away, so that they can use the label. Like any new feature, everybody wants to be on it. Everyone and his dog wants to be on the new features, don’t they, when it comes to social? So, I think they’ll be scrambling about trying to get on this. But it creates a better user experience for the end user.

Lee: What would be really interesting is if Facebook managed to secure a deal with Google, whereby the breaking news articles are brought into the SERPs directly. I think that’d work really well.

Jamie: Facebook would hate that, though, wouldn’t they?

Lee: Yeah, but imagine how much…and I don’t think it will ever happen because I think Google view Facebook as a bit of a competitor anyway, in terms of the content proposition. And the search functionality that’s within Facebook is continuously improving. And as more and more people spend time on the platform, they’re pulling people away from searching on Google. But it would be interesting if Facebook managed to negotiate either some sort of markup that you can do with a breaking news article that would pull it into the SERP as it happens. Because I know Google have got almost live results in the card-based systems.

Chris: Yeah. So I think that I don’t know if that’d actually happen.

Lee: I don’t think they’d play nice with it, but it’d be an interesting thing to think about. I know that Twitter partnered with Google to get tweets indexed a while back…not in a live feed kind of way. But if Facebook managed to negotiate that, I think that could increase Facebook’s reach. It probably would increase the user base to a certain extent because the people that would look for news that are perhaps an older demographic that might not have the knowledge or the regular daily usage of Facebook would end up on that platform.

Chris: Yeah, quite possibly. I don’t know, like you say, how nice Google will play on that. To be fair, I think there’s a lot that’d have to go on in between there to make that happen. And a lot of negotiating for such a small feature, as well, really. It’s not a groundbreaking feature that I don’t imagine Google would be too excited by. But overall, I think it is quite a good step in the right direction based on the tidy up and, you know, Facebook’s commitment to getting the feed a little bit more relevant and tidier for the end user, really.

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