Date
23 May 2018
Facebook is not ruling out the possibility of paying publishers for their content. Photo: Reuters
Facebook is not ruling out the possibility of paying publishers for their content. Photo: Reuters

Facebook to test news paywalls on Apple iOS system

Starting next month, news outlets can establish a paywall on their Facebook sites using the iOS system.

Facebook announced it has sealed the agreement with Apple, after it tested paywalls using the Android system last October, TechCrunch reported.

Speaking on Tuesday at a Code Media conference organized by tech news website Recode, Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said the social media giant will launch its “subscription product” for news publishers on March 1.

News publishers can provide users with five, not 10, free instant news articles, after which users have to pay the news providers in order to read more from them, Brown said.

Facebook will also poll users about which media outlets they trust most, and will start favoring news from broadly trusted sources on its sites.

“News organizations should be thinking differently about their relationship with Facebook,” Brown told CNBC. “This is not us stepping back from news, this is us changing our relationship with publishers. This is about Facebook doing something it’s never done before, having a point of view and leaning into quality news.”

As a result of this new initiative, news outlets will not only be able to obtain full subscription fees but also access users’ data on their browsing habits and preferences, which will help publishers in evaluating the effectiveness of their contents.

Facebook is also renovating its News Feed and creating a new section targeted at hard news on its new video tab, called Watch, Brown said at the conference.

She said she would “never say never to anything”, suggesting the company would not rule out the possibility of paying publishers for their content.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 14

Translation by Jonathan Chong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/CG

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