Facebook has traditionally struggled to be reactive to live news, usually serving relevant news updates to its audience hours after an event has taken place. Twitter, conversely, has looked to establish itself as the home of live rolling coverage of breaking news, offering its users ways to curate and join threads around a specific live topic.
However, the gap between the two has narrowed this week with Facebook announcing the release of a feature that allows publishers to announce and cover breaking stories through a ‘Breaking News’ tab, for content designed to be consumed immediately.
As TechCrunch confirm, ‘Publishers can add the tag to one post per day plus another five per month, and set it to appear for 15 minutes to six hours. Users can report misuse of the tag with the drop-down arrow, and Facebook says it will expand the test to more publishers if it goes well.’
Underpinning Facebook’s move to give its audience better access to breaking news is a continued drive to increase time spent on the channel, away from competitors, giving them more reasons to spend time plugged into Facebook.