Facebook News service ‘could expand to UK'

The dedicated News tab was first launched as a test in the United States last year.

Facebook is considering expanding its new News tool to countries outside the US for the first time, including the UK.

First launched as a trial last year, Facebook News is a new section on the social network dedicated to trusted news sources, where users can personalise the publishers and content they see.

When it was introduced in the United States last year, Facebook said it would showcase original reporting from local publications in the largest major metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles and Boston.

The tech giant said it would also eventually feature top stories chosen by journalists, personalised articles based on the news users read, and specific topic sections, as well as a section for people who have linked their paid news subscriptions to their Facebook account.

In a blog post on the tool, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships Campbell Brown said: “The US launch of Facebook News marked a new chapter in our relationship with the news industry and it’s off to a strong start.

“Built with publisher feedback and insights from people, it is a personalised destination for news within Facebook.

“Helping publishers reach new audiences has been one of our most important goals, and we’ve found over 95% of the traffic Facebook News delivers to publishers is incremental to the traffic they already get from News Feed.

“Based on this progress, we are accelerating our plans to expand internationally. We aim to launch Facebook News in multiple countries within the next six months to a year and are considering the UK, Germany, France, India and Brazil.

“In each country, we’ll pay news publishers to ensure their content is available in the new product.”

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg first set out his ambition for the project in April last year, saying that he wants the tech giant to support struggling news outlets.

Publishers have been increasingly squeezed by Facebook’s dominant position, as more people opt to consume news from Facebook’s News Feed.

It has previously been reported that Facebook is paying some publishers millions of dollars a year in order to include their content in the News section.

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