Facebook to launch dedicated news section in UK next year

Facebook News is set to launch in the UK from January next year, the social network announced.

The new section will be dedicated to trusted news sources where users can personalise the publishers and content they see.

Facebook is paying for content from publishers including the owners of The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, London Evening Standard, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, The Mirror, The Scotsman, STV and The Yorkshire Post, plus lifestyle brands such as Red, Cosmopolitan, Wired, GQ, Glamour, Vogue and Tatler.

The service will provide users with a mix of curated and personalised top stories.

It comes as news publishers have struggled to generate advertising revenue during the internet age in the face of dominant tech giants.

“Facebook is deeply committed to supporting news organisations as they adapt to the changing digital world and we are delighted to have so many partners working with us at this early stage,” said Jesper Doub, director of news partnerships at Facebook.

The social network expects more publishers to join the programme before launch.

A US version was first trialled last year.

Facebook has also revealed it is extending its UK Community News Project, which saw the firm pay £4.5 million for around 80 training journalists to offer local reporting in underserved areas.

After a two-year pilot, the social network is paying £2.25 million to continue the scheme for another year.

Facebook said the move means just over half of the existing cohort could be in line for an additional year of training.

“The wonderful news that Facebook is extending this brilliant project is a real boost for journalism and the news industry at such a challenging time,” said Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

“The NCTJ is proud to be a partner in a scheme that, thanks to Facebook’s support and the commitment of publishers, provides more journalism jobs, an innovative training scheme based on NCTJ qualifications and makes a real difference to the diversity of local newsrooms.”