(Pocket-lint) - Facebook has a news section, specifically for finding major and local news, inside its main mobile app.

Called Facebook News, it is described as a "place on Facebook for all the news you care about", and it's primarily intended to provide Facebook users with more control over their news experience and the news stories they see on the platform.

Here's how Facebook News works.

When and where is Facebook News available?

Starting in 2019, Facebook began testing News among a few hundred thousand users in the US. In June 2020, it became available to all in the US. In August 2020, Facebook revealed it would expand its news feature internationally within the next six months to a year. As of 26 January 2021, Facebook News is available to users in the UK too.

Facebook said in a blog post that News could arrive in Germany, France, India, and/or Brazil, but for the moment, it is restricted to the US and UK.

How do you find Facebook News?

Facebook News is a tab in the Facebook app for mobile. It appears as a bookmark - under the three-lined "more" menu - on mobile. Those who frequently visit the bookmark will see News available as a tab or button in the Facebook app.

  1. Log into the Facebook app on your mobile device.
  2. Tap the three lines in the bottom right corner.
  3. Find "News" in your menu.
  4. Tap "News"
  5. You can also access News by typing "Facebook News" into the search bar on your Facebook app and tapping the Facebook News shortcut.

Note: The News desktop tab has yet to launch.

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How does Facebook News work?

Facebook said it wanted to build a place for users to find more news on Facebook. Facebook News, therefore, features a wide range of news content across four categories of publishers: General, topical, diverse, and local news.

Here are the key features of Facebook News:

  • Today's Stories: These are stories hand-curated by a team of journalists.
  • Personalised experience: You will see news based on what you read, share, and follow on Facebook.
  • Topic sections: You can explore more news in topic sections like business, entertainment, health, science and tech, and sports.
  • Your Subscriptions: You can link your paid news subscriptions to your Facebook account and access them from the Facebook app.
  • Control: You will have the ability to hide articles, topics, and publishers.

Facebook said it wants to recognise original reporting, as it's more expensive to produce. So, its curation team of journalists, who manage the Today's Stories section of Facebook News, reward original stories by choosing them first. Other features include breaking news alerts, timely news digests, and targeted notifications.

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Which publishers are on Facebook News?

Facebook News serves up reporting from over 200 general news publishers, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BuzzFeed in the US. In the UK, publications including Channel 4, Sky News, The Guardian, The Economist, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Mail, Financial Times and The Telegraph were all on board.

According to The Verge and the BBC, Facebook is paying some publishers for "for content that is not already on the platform", offering a new revenue stream in the industry. Facebook said publishers who wish to participate will need to be in its News Page Index, which it developed in "collaboration with the industry to identify news content".

Publishers need to abide by Facebook's Publisher Guidelines, which supposedly includes "a range of integrity signals in determining product eligibility, including misinformation - as identified based on third-party fact checkers - community standards violations (e.g., hate speech), clickbait, engagement bait, and others". Facebook promised to continually check integrity status to ensure eligibility criteria is being met.

Can you trust Facebook News?

We don't know as yet.

Facebook hasn't released the full list of publications joining Facebook News, raising serious concerns about its potential to spread fake news. But Facebook said it uses journalists to help program Facebook News, and there's an underlying algorithms for customising your story feed. Users can react, articles, and hide articles, but they can't comment. They can also hide topics and publishers.

Want to know more?

Check out Facebook's announcement blog post for more details. You can also learn more about Facebook News at www.facebook.com/news.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle.