Facebook is shaking up its news service with more focus on 'trusted publishers'

Facebook Watch on a smartphone

Facebook is shaking up the way it presents news. You’ll soon be able to keep up with breaking news via Facebook Watch, but you’ll also start seeing less news on your newsfeed.

The announcement came at the Recode Code Media conference in California, where Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of newsfeed, and Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships, discussed what the future holds for news on the network.

Newsfeed will go from about 5% news to about 4% news

Adam Mosseri, Facebook

Mosseri reiterated Facebook's plan to reduce the amount of general news stories appearing in newsfeeds, thereby (hopefully) showing more of the posts from friends and family that you'll actually be interested in.

"That creates a real downward pressure on the distribution for publishers, including news publishers," he said. "We said that, publicly, we think that roughly over the next couple of months, newsfeed will go from about 5% news to about 4% news, which is a meaningful drop."

Quality news

"This is not about us stepping back from news," said Brown. "This is about us changing our relationship with publishers and emphasising something that Facebook has never done before. It's having a point of view and it's leaning into quality news.

I think we would agree that not all news is created equal

Campbell Brown, Facebook

"We are, for the first time in the history of Facebook, taking a step to try to define what quality news looks like and give that a boost so that, overall, there's less competition from news.

"I think we would agree that not all news is created equal, and this is a big step for us to begin thinking about that."

Last month, Facebook announced that it's experimenting with giving locally sourced news greater priority in newsfeeds, helping drown out divisive news stories with information that’s more likely to be relevant and useful.

“Starting today, we’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his own Facebook account.

“If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in [your] news feed.”

On your watch

Facebook is also making big investments in Watch. The on-demand video platform launched last year, and unlike Facebook Live, which lets anyone broadcast videos, it specializes in original content produced by partners.

Last month Facebook announced an exclusive partnership deal with ESL, one of the world’s biggest esports leagues.

The deal kicked off with live broadcasts of the ESL One Genting DOTA 2 tournament on Facebook Watch, and the two companies are looking into the possibility of streaming future competitions in VR.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)