Facebook News Tab Launches in the United Kingdom
Facebook News today launched in the United Kingdom, the first country outside of the U.S. to receive the curated news portal.
Accessed via a dedicated tab in the mobile Facebook app, the portal features licensed content from hundreds of local and national media organizations including The Guardian, The Economist, The Independent, Channel 4 News, Sky News, Daily Mail Group, and Financial Times, amongst others.
Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it will be working with a service called Upday to curate the stories that appear on News:
"The product is a mix of curated, top stories and personalized links chosen by algorithm," a spokesperson said. Upday appears to be a joint collaboration between German publisher Axel Springer and Samsung, which also runs a news service on its phones powered by it.
It is not clear what the financial terms of the deal is between Facebook and Upday, but reportedly, the licensing deals Facebook is cutting with publishers to place their content in News collectively run into the tens of millions of pounds, with the biggest publishers making millions a year from the the agreements. While those figures might pale to what Facebook makes in ad revenues globally — that reaches into the tens of billions of dollars quarterly — they represent significant sums for the beleaguered U.K. media industry.
Like the U.S. version, Facebook News works by combining editorially curated stories and articles based on what users read, share, and follow on the social network. Users will also get controls that allow them to hide topics or publishers from their feed, according to Facebook.
The company says it is currently negotiating with partners to launch the feature in France and Germany, with Brazil and India also in its sights.