UPDATED to include additional context
Facebook has unveiled its first slate of funded news shows within its Facebook Watch, with ABC News, CNN, Fox News, Mic, ATTN:, Advance Local and Univision among the networks producing the exclusive content that will hit the platform beginning this summer.
Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, made the announcement today in a company blog post, saying the social media giant beginning this summer is “testing a destination for high quality and timely news content on the platform.”
“This first lineup of funded shows includes news publishers from broadcast to digital native, national and local,” she wrote. “The shows will be hosted by award-winning journalists, as well as new faces, and the formats will vary from a mix of daily briefings, weekly deep dives, and live breaking news coverage. They’ll debut later this summer, and we’ll announce additional shows in the coming weeks. We will work closely with our publisher partners to experiment with these different formats to understand what works, and they will have full editorial control of their shows.”
The announcement comes as Facebook has drawn criticism for failing to react quickly enough to foreign actors spreading propaganda on its platform during the 2016 elections. Indeed, researchers from New York University and Stanford said social media played a bigger role in bringing people to fake news sites than in directing them to authentic news.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been outspoken in his criticism of Facebook. In a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg during the Sun Valley conference, Murdoch and News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson reportedly told the social network CEO that Facebook and Google pose an existential threat to serious journalism by depleting nearly the entire digital ad market; and that dramatic changes to its algorithm were wreaking havoc with publishers.
“If Facebook didn’t start offering a better deal to the publishing industry, Thomson and Murdoch conveyed in stark terms, Zuckerberg could expect News Corp executives to become much more public in their denunciations and much more open in their lobbying,” Wired reported. “They had helped to make things very hard for Google in Europe. And they could do the same for Facebook in the US.”
Facebook committed to funding news programs on Facebook Watch for a year, though it’s unclear how much money the social network with a $550 billion market cap is committing to the initiative.
The initial lineup includes shows from CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox News’ Shep Smith.
Here’s the slate per Brown:
— ABC News’ “On Location” [wt] is a daily news show with ABC News journalists from around the globe delivering on-the-ground reporting and the top headlines that are driving the day.
— Advance Local’s “Chasing Corruption” In Alabama Media Group’s Chasing Corruption’s weekly series, host Ian Hoppe and the Reckon by AL.com team travel across the USA to meet some of America’s toughest watchdog journalists — and the stories of conspiracy, bribery, fraud and more they’ve uncovered.
— ATTN:’s “Undivided ATTN:” is a weekly explainer show that breaks down the biggest issue of the week. In 3-5 minute episodes hosted by a rotating cast of social influencers, Undivided ATTN: will provide context on the stories everybody’s talking about.
— CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle” is a daily global brief on the world, M-F evenings featuring Anderson Cooper and a roster of guests. The interactive program will air live from Anderson’s New York City newsroom in mobile-friendly vertical video.
— Fox News’ “Fox News Update” will focus on up-to-the minute breaking news and the most compelling stories of the day. FNC’s chief news anchor Shepard Smith will report the latest news each weekday afternoon, with Carley Shimkus updating viewers every morning. Additionally, Abby Huntsman will provide the latest headlines once each morning throughout the weekend.
— Mic’s “Mic Dispatch” reveals the world as we see it: complicated, diverse and full of potential. Mic correspondents on this new, twice-weekly show go beyond the headlines to profile the underrepresented, the problem-solvers and the provocateurs.”
— Univision’s “Real America with Jorge Ramos” Award-winning journalist, anchor and author Jorge Ramos travels the country to talk to immigrants of diverse backgrounds and situations, delivering a rarely covered view of today’s America from their perspective. Univision will also cover the top stories in Spanish at noon every day on Watch with “Noticiero Univision Edición Digital.”