Facebook gives more than 50 publishers access to ‘Breaking News’ label

The site first rolled out its 'Breaking News' indicator in a test run last November that included a small number of local and national publishers.

Facebook is making another attempt to fine-tune the way its users consume news articles. Last November, the site gave a small group of local and national publishers the ability to include a “Breaking News” label on their stories. Starting today, Facebook is expanding its “Breaking News” label test run to more than 50 additional publishers in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia.

“If the expansion is successful, we may add more publishers,” writes Facebook product manager Joey Rhyu on the site’s news blog.

According to the announcement, publishers with access to the label can include it on Instant Articles, mobile and web links and Facebook Live videos. Facebook says publishers can use the label once a day (but will have an extra pool of up to five indicators per month) and can choose to have it included on a story for up to six hours.

The label comes with analytics so that publishers can see in their Page Insights how their “Breaking News” posts performed. Facebook says readers will also be able to mark whether or not they think a story is breaking news by clicking on the top right drop-down menu of a post.

Based on feedback from sites with early access to the label, like The Washington Post, Facebook saw a 4 percent increase in click-through rates and comments, a 7 percent increase in likes, and an 11 percent increase in shares for posts with the “Breaking News” label posted between December 8, 2017, and January 14, 2018.

“We’ve been pleased to collaborate with Facebook to elevate breaking news on their platform and are excited – but not surprised – to see readers respond the way they have,” says Dave Merrell, lead product manager for The Washington Post.

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