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Facebook’s FB Newswire service is shutting down on October 18 after more than 2.5 years as a resource for journalists to understand what’s being talked about on the social network. A specific explanation for its demise wasn’t immediately revealed, but it might have to do with the company’s partnership with Storyful, which has recently found itself removed from more than just FB Newswire.
Launched in 2014, the product was aimed at attracting journalists and media to the social network as a place to discover breaking news. It was created in response to the prominence that Twitter received as a place where people read more about what was going on in the world in real time. In a way, this was at the beginning of the battle for “live,” a conflict between Twitter and Facebook that continues to this day.
“Every day, news is made on Facebook,” wrote Facebook’s director for news and global media partnerships Andy Mitchell back in 2014. “More than 1 billion people use our platform to discover, explore, and participate in news-making events around the world.”
FB Newswire was founded through a partnership with social content discovery and verification for newsroom service Storyful. The product aggregated newsworthy content that was shared publicly on the social network by people and organizations around the world for journalists to use in their reporting. It included original photos, videos, and status updates from those at the front lines of these events.
But it looks that Facebook is moving beyond human curation, similar to what it did with trending topics, which it found itself in some hot water over earlier this year. The company hasn’t acknowledged this shift, but it does highlight the reduced prominence of Storyful, as it also was removed from Facebook’s Signal app this week in favor of live videos. This is also the latest retooling of the social network’s efforts in media outreach — it also shuttered its Notify app in June.
It could be that FB Newswire has been an elaborate experiment Facebook set up to better understand how journalists will consume the news on its platform, and now it’ll find some way to incorporate those learnings into the News Feed.
Facebook referred us to a statement we mentioned in our Signal coverage, saying “We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with Storyful and plan to continue working together on future projects. We are continuing to work with newsrooms to learn how we can build better tools for news gathering, and we’ll share updates on our media blog.”
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