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Facebook improves publisher branding, Google testing subscription tools: tech giants extend olive branches to publishers

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World News Publishing Focus
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Facebook improves publisher branding, Google testing subscription tools: tech giants extend olive branches to publishers

Two otherwise unrelated developments show that Google and Facebook are listening to news publishers and are reacting to their concerns.

First, Facebook is now allowing publishers' logos to appear next to their stories in Trending and Search sections of the platform, Poynter reported. Eventually, the company plans to make the logos to appear on “all places where people consume news on our platform”.

The move is a response to a common complaint from publishers, who worry that their news articles are not sufficiently distinguished from other content on the platform. The concern is that established news outlets are not sufficiently highlighted as reliable sources of news, and that sites that publish fake news and misinformation on the platform appear as equally credible sources with news publishers.

These concerns are seemingly confirmed by a recent study by the Pew Research Centre, which found that only 56% of users could remember the source of a link viewed on social sites.

The hope is that with more prominent logos, the readers will be able to identify reliable sources of news more easily. Facebook has now published instructions how publishers can upload their logos to be used for this.

Second, Google has started testing tools that aim to boost subscriptions for news publishers, Bloomberg reports. With the new tools, Google is exploring how to inform publishers on potential subscribers, determine how much readers might pay and facilitate the subscription process.

Many details of the initiative remain to be clarified, including if Google would be sharing revenue with publishers and how the system will adapt to publishers’ different subscription models. But the new tools seemingly show that Google is ready to support publishers’ efforts to drive up their digital subscriptions, and that the company acknowledges that online advertising alone is not enough to maintain publishers' businesses.

Google is testing the tools with the News York Times and Financial Times, but is also talking to “dozens” of other media companies. The news about Google's tools follows the previously reported plans by Facebook to launch a subscriptions-based news product. 

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2017-08-23 11:54

Author information

The news publishing industry is experiencing transformation at an ever-growing pace, with new policy issues arising as the landscape changes.

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