Facebook Watch Platform to Launch Dedicated News Section

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Facebook is set to launch a news section for its Watch platform and is testing different video partnerships with around 10 publishers, according to a report by Axios today.

Launched back in August, Watch is a section of Facebook in the U.S. for mobile and desktop that's designed to showcase TV shows exclusive to the social network. Along with serving as a platform for end users to watch shows, Watch is also meant to help creators and publishers find an audience for their content, build a community, and earn money.


The additional section would be the first standalone news product for national news in Watch. Previously news has been hosted on the platform mixed in with other publisher content through delivery mechanisms such as Instant Articles and Facebook Live.

Facebook is said to be testing a daily video feature for the upcoming news section that includes content from both "legacy and digital-first news publishers" and would run for at least a year, according to Axios' sources. Hosted content would be a minimum of three minutes, and Facebook plans to launch the feature this summer to test what works best.

Aside from Facebook's monetization goals, creating a news product that's native to the platform is part of an effort to promote content from vetted publishers, following last year's outbreak of "fake news" on the social network. Accusations that Facebook did little to halt the spread of misinformation on its platform hit the company's reputation among both users and publishers in 2017, and it has since been testing ways to guide readers to more credible sources of news.

In another Watch development, last week Facebook and Major League Baseball announced a content agreement to stream 25 weekly MLB games on the social network starting in 2018. The games will be distributed over Facebook Watch as part of the MLB Live show Page, and the deal marks MLB's first digital-only distribution agreement, which was unanimously approved by 30 Major League Clubs.

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