Facebook is not a news portal, and not at all a publisher. But still, it managed to become similar as its influence is putting many brands up and beyond the capacity of any other media.
When people see news on Facebook, they want to easily identify when it is timely. And news publishers have urged Facebook to help them highlight urgent news stories on the platform. After several months of testing, Facebook found that posts labelled with "breaking news" can drive more engagements, showing that the product can help people find the news that's important to them.
Here, Facebook announced the expansion of two of its engagement and interaction-prompting tools:
Bringing The 'Breaking News' Tags In News Feed
Facebook users in Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain and the UK can see this breaking news label.
"This is in addition to the US and Canada, where it's been fully rolled out. All of these stories will also be tagged as 'breaking news' in CrowdTangle, and we're considering the label as a signal of timeliness in News Feed ranking in these countries," explained Facebook.
Facebook said that it tested this feature with more than 100 news publishers, and saw positive gains in their engagements.
Expanding the test to more markets
"We will expand the test to more countries in Europe and Asia to understand how people interact with breaking news in different countries," continued Facebook.
The company is also making the breaking news feature better, by launching third-party integrations with platforms like Social News Desk and SocialFlow. This should allow publishers to post breaking news easier through supported platforms.
Facebook is also allowing publishers to add the breaking news label after a post is live, and delete a label from a post before the label has expired.
"In the test period, we've seen that breaking news posts about politics, crime, disaster, and business perform best. We're using data like this to help publishers understand how to use the label to connect people with the breaking news that they need to see most."
Facebook has a lot of features, which many of them aren't yet explored by most users. While the social media is indeed sophisticated and complex, it has become the source of information and news by many.
This is possible because as a social media, Facebook has the most number of users if compared to all of its competitors. This appeal many news outlets and publishers who want to receive engagements and website visits from Facebook's vast amount of active users.
With the added label, the visual indication should provide a useful cue to what a post is about. It should also help users feel "more informed about what's happening around them, when it happens," as Facebook noted.
"As we continue to invest in this product, we expect to see people become even more accustomed to finding breaking news in News Feed."
Facebook has never been a key source for real-time updates. After all, Facebook has tons of contents to show at any given time, and sorting them out to show them to users is never an easy task.
The 'Breaking News' label should provide a way for publishers to generate more engagement and interaction, a solution to Facebook's algorithms which may bury their posts from time to time.