Facebook Expands Breaking News Test to More than 50 Publishers



In a play for real-time news engagement, Facebook is testing a label that publishers may use once per day across Instant Articles, mobile and web links, and Facebook Live.

As part of Facebook’s 2018 focus on building community, last month the social media company announced it would be prioritizing local news in users’ News Feeds.

The latest update in this mission is an expanded test of Facebook’s “Breaking” tag for publishers to use when emphasizing important or developing stories. Currently, more than 50 publishers across North America, Latin America, Europe, and Australia can use the label in an expansion of a testing phrase that kicked off in November 2017.

Publishers in this new test group will be able to label one post per day as breaking news, including Instant Articles, mobile and web links, and Facebook Live videos. They’ll also be given an extra five “floating” indicators per month.

Image via Facebook

Posts can be marked as breaking for a maximum of six hours and insights with regard to how the content performed will be provided to the publisher. Piggybacking Facebook’s efforts to include users as watchdogs of publishers on its platform, readers can provide feedback as to whether they deemed the post breaking newsworthy or not via a drop-down menu.

“Drawing attention to breaking news on Facebook will help get important information to people when it matters most,” said Facebook Product Manager Joey Rhyu in a statement.

Rhyu also shared the top-level results of its initial alpha-test that ran between Dec. 8 and Jan. 14, serving as the impetus to test the functionality out with more publishers. Here’s what Facebook reported across its alpha test partners:

    4% in clickthrough rate
    7% lift in Likes
    4% lift in Comments
    11% lift in Shares

For now, the breaking news label has no correlation to a post’s ranking in the News Feed, but TechCrunch reports it could be something that might be incorporated down the line. Regardless, as the source points out, the label is a strategic move during a time where consumers are increasingly demanding social platforms and brands deliver responsible content that is important and trustworthy. And if it just so happens to make them a better competitor against their main rival in the space for breaking news, Twitter, well, that’s just the cherry on top.

Social Media Week’s 2018 global theme, “Closer” explores the intensifying conflict between community and individualism. Learn how Facebook and other social platforms are addressing this conflict by attending SMWNYC this April 23-27. Register your pass today.

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