Today, Facebook announced that it will be targeting Twitter’s real-time news market with the debut of FB Newswire; a resource for journalists, and a partnership with social content discovery platform Storyful.
The goal, according to Facebook’s Director of News & Global Media Partnerships Andy Mitchell, is to “make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share, and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce.”
Basically, Facebook is newsjacking. It’s creating an Associated Press-style, vetted news resource that media organizations will feel comfortable using during breaking events.
Yes, it’s true – as their recent WhatsApp acquisition and Paper release show, Facebook wants users to seek them out for more than pictures of puppies and engagement parties. They also want advertising dollars from media companies….And now they want to steal some of the breaking-news oxygen from Twitter’s warp-speed rapid fire content. Twitter is currently the social media destination for breaking news, but Facebook is coming for the crown with a battle cry of, “Our information is carefully sourced and can be trusted.”
Will the network succeed, or does Twitter have Facebook Newswire DOA? Let’s explore.
Curation vs. Open Information Flow
FB Newswire aggregates newsworthy content shared publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations for journalists to use in their reporting, thanks to Storyful’s “discovery technology” and “expert journalists” on staff. This, off the bat, is a major difference between Facebook and Twitter in the news category, and significant value-add on FB Newswire’s part. Twitter tends to support such a wide swathe of information that it’s hard to sift through for truth, especially for journalists.
But with the advent of Twitter’s new profile redesign and the 6.62M-strong popularity of @BreakingNews, will this be true for long? Will users prefer to click over to @Reuters and @AP, or open a new tab for Facebook? Only time will tell, but if Facebook doesn’t come up with a greater value-add than curation in this competitive environment, it may not see the success it wants to with FB Newswire.
A Tool to Combat The Organic Reach Crisis?
Newsjacking is a smart way to get attention on social media, especially in light of Facebook’s new algorithm changes and the subsequent downfall of organic reach. Since Facebook is curating newsworthy items from organizations and individuals, it’s in their best interest to share content that’s really making a stir. This way, other publications can easily find and embed that content, thus drawing more people to FB Newswire, and possibly back to their brand page (the jury is out on this tactic).
Could this be a way to combat the organic reach and find a new niche that works for your brand? What kind of content can your brand produce to attach itself to a news story and gain some traction on the network? FB Newswire’s model makes the guaranteed reliability of information a sexy draw for journalists, and if you’re in the tech industry or media industry, it might offer the chance for you to really shine.
A Twitter-Related Misstep?
I was feeling pretty good about FB Newswire – Hey! Something to help me with my job! Sourcing I can count on! – when I realized that this existed:
Especially with Twitter profiles in the picture – a more stationary way to find all the information you seek on the famously fast-paced network – what’s the incentive of visiting Facebook’s FB Newswire page when you can follow @FBNewswire on Twitter and get the same exact content as it comes down the pipeline?
However, after looking closer, I realized that every link posted on the @FBNewswire feed links you directly to the Facebook page. Is this a smart ploy to lure Twitter news-seekers over to Facebook? Will people go for this network cross-pollination, or would they rather just stick with @BreakingNews and stay within Twitter’s walls if they’re there already? Only time will tell, and it’ll surely be a fascinating case study on whether advertising one social network on another is fruitful in the long-term.
So, if you were a journalist…
…or just wanted to stay on the absolute cutting edge of in-the-know, would you trust Facebook Newswire as one of your major sources? Is that market oversaturated already? What are its benefits and drawbacks in your opinion? Let me know in the comments below, or Tweet at @SimplyMeasured with the hashtag #FBNewswire.