Since coming to Facebook as Head of Partnerships early last year, the two priorities of former CNN animator Campbell Brown are: (1) helping publishers to improve the revenues they generate on the social network 2) increase the visibility of higher quality information sources on the social network
On Monday, Brown gave details on two ways to try to satisfy these ambitions.
First, Facebook will experiment with a section in its Watch video center dedicated to "news video," Brown said on stage at the Recode Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, California. In addition to being a destination for people seeking new videos, the section will also be an opportunity for Facebook to highlight coverage of late-breaking events, she said.
The details of the test, like its deployment and the number of Facebook users, are rare. It is also unclear how Facebook will try to make sure that Watch's news section does not just generate revenue for publishers. For example, will Facebook sell ads against these videos differently than other videos on its platform, for example by putting a velvet rope around this inventory and presenting it as a bonus to advertisers? And how will Facebook direct the attention of its users to Watch's news section at a time when these users are still aware of Watch's existence?
It was asked if Facebook would monetize the videos in the news section of Watch differently from other videos and how the company would make the section known, "I do not know," Brown said.
Brown had more details to share on another way that Facebook is trying to help publishers make money.
The Paywall program will expand to iOS
In October, Facebook announced that it was going to start testing a program for publishers in order to set up paywalls with their counter around their instant articles. But at the time, this test had to be limited to people viewing these items via Facebook's Android app and did not include users using its iOS because of a stalemate with Apple regarding the 30% tax on subscription income. Facebook has solved the problem, and the Instant Article instant payment program will be rolled out to users of its iOS app on March 1, Brown said.
"Exploring" continuous flow tests
Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook's news feed, took a look at another type of wall that Facebook is testing.
Last year, Facebook confirmed that it was trying to extract organic content from publishers – and all other pages – from the regular news feed and place it in its own feed separate called "Explorer". Despite the initial backlash, Facebook has not given up on this experience. The company continues to test in about half a dozen countries that house a "small percentage" of users and "evaluate it regularly," Mosseri said.
As to whether Facebook will extend this test to more users or officially block page posts in another Explore stream, Mosseri said he had "nothing new to announce "and that he hoped to solve the experience" in the coming weeks, "Without any indication of what exactly this means and how this relates to the recent de-emphasis of society's public messages in news threads of people.