Facebook Launches FB Techwire To Rival Techmeme
Seven months ago, Facebook launched FB Newswire which collects news and related stories publicly shared by individuals or organizations, extracts the newsworthy content out of the data, and presents it to its users. FB Newswire is powered in part by Storyful — the news-verification startup acquired by News Corp. last year.
With the help of this FB Newswire page, Facebook aimed to dive into news and publications domain. In fact, it explicitly revealed that the company wanted to help journalists in collecting related content through its website.
Now, the company has launched a new service called FB Techwire, which is basically an extension of FB Newswire except it is focused on technology.
Like FB Newswire, the technology-focused news aggregator collects the stories about tech from all over Facebook. It then screens out the content that its algorithm “thinks” is not reliable or if they are fake. This is done using the service provided by Storyful’s team of editors who ensure that no fake story gets published by mistake.
This service is strikingly similar to Techmeme, which is also a tech news aggregator. Gabe Rivera, who runs Techmeme, said it is natural for Facebook to get its head into technology news as tech becomes mainstream. He also admitted that Facebook is going after some of Techmeme’s core readership, but believes they are doing just fine and Techmeme is more than simple news aggregation service that Facebook is doing.
“We’ll be fine. I think Techmeme readers will continue to need Techmeme’s hierarchy (biggest stories on top), speed (big stories get posted quickly), and comprehensiveness for industry-situated people (we strive to include all the stories people in the industry need to see),” said Rivera.
There some flaws in Facebook’s FB Techwire. Firstly, it collects content only from Facebook, i.e., it assumes that all the content required by journalists will be shared on Facebook one way or other and that it will be able to extract it out.
On the other hand, Techmeme collects information from anywhere on the web. Furthermore, it curates tweets related to those news which add value to the stories.
Secondly, Facebook uses only algorithms to mine the useful information out of collected data. Techmeme uses both human editors and algorithms for this purpose, hence getting more desired results.
Thirdly, Facebook uses only publicly-shared posts for aggregation. So if a useful story is shared by someone who has set privacy settings to friends-only, FB Techwire would not be able to see it.
Anyways, it is a good move by Facebook as it looks to become leading source of news, not only for journalists but also for news readers.