Facebook has always been captivated by the 24-hour news cycle. They’ve made efforts through endeavors like Facebook Stories to show the viability of Facebook embeds as a truly dynamic primary source, while more recent moves such as their Trending section and Instant Articles have shown that they’re serious about driving users to news content without having them ever leave the site.
Today, Facebook introduced a new platform called Signal to entice journalists to discover and embed their content. The tool, which pulls from both Facebook and Instagram, allows journalists the opportunity “to make Facebook a more vital part of their news gathering with access to relevant trends, photos, videos, and posts on Facebook and Instagram for use in their storytelling and reporting” according to a company blog post from Andy Mitchell, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook.
This is just the latest move from Facebook targeting professional content creators. Last week Facebook introduced its Mentions app to all of its verified profiles, allowing journalists and celebrities the opportunity to broadcast live video streams and create posts that only go out to their followers.
Part of the usefulness of Signal is that it gives journalists access to multiple highly sorted newsfeeds of public content. Right now, items like the Trending topics feature are influenced by a users personal profile interests including what pages they’ve liked and what content they engage with. Signal gives journalists a more universal spread of what’s actually trending across the board through Trending Now. The platform also helps journalists identify items that are just beginning to spike in their viral-ness through a new feature called Emerging Trends.
In both look and function, Signal appears to have taken some inspiration from applications like Tweetdeck. Journalists can now group pages and profiles to appear in specific feeds so if they want to monitor public reactions from U.S. Senators, they can build a dedicated newsfeed, called a “collection,” just for those certain profiles. The same goes for Instagram posts, where Signal users can enter in specific Instagram handles and be presented with a curated newsfeed.
This is really a major step forward in Facebook’s continued efforts to become a major hub for news discovery. By giving journalists more effective tools to use the site to discover content and embed it in their stories, Facebook is building up a symbiotic relationship with publications that may grow to see more of the actual articles being published entirely on Facebook through initiatives like Instant Articles and those that follow it.