Is Facebook planning to expand its ‘breaking news’ offering in the Middle East?

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Amid talks of spreading fake news, Facebook is planning to expand its ‘breaking news’ offering.

The tech giant is running a test in the US that lets a small group of local and national publishers identify and label breaking news.

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Starting this week, Facebook will expand the test that will enable more than 50 additional publishers in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia to label their stories as breaking news on Facebook.

“If the expansion is successful, we may add more publishers,” Joey Rhyu, Product Manager, Facebook, noted.

So does that mean the Middle East? Well, maybe.

How it works

Publishers in the test will be able to label Instant Articles, mobile and web links, and Facebook Live as breaking news.

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They can use the indicator once a day, setting how long the story is marked as breaking for (up to 6 hours). Publishers also have an extra pool of 5 indicators per month.

The posts will appear in News Feed and there will be information in Page Insights, so that publishers can track how their tagged posts perform.

Readers will also be able to provide feedback when they don’t consider a story to be breaking news by clicking in the top-right drop-down menu of a post.

“From this initial test, we’ve seen positive results. People in the US engage more with posts that are labeled as breaking news,” Rhyu noted in the Facebook blog post.

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“Drawing attention to breaking news on Facebook will help get important information to people when it matters most. This is an early test and we will keep working with news publishers through the Facebook Journalism Project to incorporate their feedback and refine how it works,” Rhyu added.

GMR reached out to Facebook’s regional PR to ask about when a decision would be made about expanding the ‘breaking news’ offering in the region. At the time of publication, they had not replied.