With research showing that 63% of Facebook users gather news information via their feed, Facebook and Instagram has introduced a tool for journalists to collate stories, gauge public reaction and discover what’s trending.
Signal is the latest ‘add-on’ introduced by Facebook, but this time it’s exclusively for media, following feedback from journalists that they want “an easy way to make Facebook a more vital part of their newsgathering with the ability to surface relevant trends, photos, videos and posts for use in their storytelling and reporting.”
The tool will make it easy to view what people’s thoughts and reactions are to a topic (though my running World Cup commentary on just how the players rank in attractiveness can’t be that interesting to a journo).
They can view trending topics within sections such as Politics, Sports, or Instagram posts linked with a certain hashtag; enabling them to monitor the community’s storytelling in real time for journalists to directly access events as they happen.
This is undoubtedly Facebook’s play to rival Twitter for content curation, and Facebook has emphasised how easy it will be to view audience engagement and newsgathering. As Vox.com Engagement Editor, Allison Rockey, says: “It’s very important for us to give context and background to the biggest news stories of the day. Our editors are incredibly interested in the questions and conversations that people are having outside of newsrooms.”
Signal will essentially make content on Facebook much more accessible, and then allow journalists to embed content they would like to save into ‘collections’.
What are your thoughts on this new content curation feature? Will you use it to gather thoughts surrounding a certain person or topic?