As social media platforms continue to evolve over time, Facebook is attempting change to have an edge against competitors.
This January, Facebook announced the company is working on the Journalism Project. The social site is seeking to gain higher quality journalism and accurate newsworthy information to be posted and shared on their website.
“We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner,” Facebook Product Director Fidji Simo stated in his blog. “And working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.”
The new project plans to work with journalism professionals, provide writers with resources and partner with third parties to promote news literacy. One of the measures Facebook is taking is a move toward “increasing [their] commitment to First Draft Partner Network to verify eyewitness reporting from around the world.”
“We know that our community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, and as a part of our service, we care a great deal about making sure that a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive,” said Simo.
Facebook, which was started in 2004, is the world’s most popular social media site. For college students who read articles posted on Facebook as a source of news, the project is intended to ensure quality information.
“It’s an absolutely necessary component for building a free society. Without journalism, tyranny becomes inevitable. That’s how important it is,” said Adjunct Professor of Journalism G. Michael Overall and writer for the “Tulsa World.”
According to PEW Research, 32 percent of U.S. adults “say they often see fake political news online.”
“Personally, I think the idea that fake news on Facebook—of which it’s a small amount of content—influenced the election in any way, I think is a pretty crazy idea,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a technology conference in 2016.
Facebook’s journalism initiative could potentially create a negative rift between reporters and newspapers in spite of being helpful to social media users seeking accurate news.
“Facebook should do more to guard against hoaxes. But why should we let Facebook be the judge of what is good or bad journalism? People should seek out a wide range of perspectives and opinions and come to their own conclusions. Don’t let Facebook or anyone else control what information you are getting,” said Overall.