Facebook Announces New Initiative to Save Media, Again

Facebook, which has been accused of assisting in the rise and spread of fake news, is seeking to put itself on steadier footing with its Journalism Project announced Wednesday.

Facebook Director of Product Fidji Simo explained in a blog post that the company will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products and, perhaps more importantly, play a role in equipping people with the knowledge needed to be informed in the digital age.

The new initiative comes after a year of scrutiny over Facebook's role in journalism and media. After previously shrugging off Facebook's role in disseminating fake news, Zuckerberg made a decision to step up and do something about it. "Facebook is a new kind of platform different from anything before it", Zuckerberg said in a statement.

In some cases Facebook is promoting what it already does and expanding the efforts.

Numerous initiatives Facebook announced Wednesday have been previously discussed but the public push reflects its heavy reliance on the media for a steady stream of content to keep its 1.8 billion users glued to their News Feed longer so Facebook can show them more ads.

In response, Facebook has offered partner publishers access to several new ad options, including larger mobile display ads, and - for those using the Facebook Audience Network - video and carousel formats.

The company announced that it's working with a handful of news outlets on a new feature that would allow publishers to compile multiple Instant Articles in a single Facebook post for easier viewing.

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Ever since it first launched, Facebook has resisted being described as a media company. It hopes to promote news literacy through third-party organizations like the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The tech titan also said it plans to use an existing service called Instant Articles to help bolster dissemination of news stories. For journalists, Facebook will develop programs that help them search the site for information on news and events.

Facebook is now testing a feature using Instant Articles which would allow readers to see multiple stories at one time, as a package, from their favorite news organizations.

Training is also making big push into training, and is offering a series of e-learning courses for journalists on its products, tools and services.

"This is just the beginning of our effort on that front - we have much more to do".

Now, Facebook says that it will connect news organizations with its product and engineering teams "from the early stages of the product development process" on the creation of new products.

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