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#Facebook #Signal Strikes a Body Blow to #Twitter

Tech Crunch
For many journalists (or just people who have a vested interest in up to date news), Twitter is still the primary source-finding platform. The way it has developed as a source for breaking news, and the subsequent reactions to that news has meant that many journalists have become adept at hovering over it, hawkishly poised for something interesting/terrible to happen. Facebook doesn't have anywhere near the credibility in that regard, but that might all be about to change.

On Thursday they brought out Signal, something intended to make both Facebook and Instagram far more relevant in the race to be the top news platform. From the top down, it's a feed of all the trending topics across both platforms, from there users can dig chronologically through all the posts relating to a particular topic until they find one that's worth embedding. There's a deep searching component and people who are being talked about a lot are listen in 'Leaderboards' based on topic (film, politics, tobogganing, etc).

Embedding is a function that's only been available on Facebook for a little while, whereas Twitter have been touting it for years, but they don't have any kind of curated content tool quite as comprehensive as this one. Project Lighting (or 'Moments') is still in development, they do have Curator, which certainly has a journalist-centric vibe, but it's much more limited than Signal.

Signal is powered by Facebook's own Media Solutions API, and bolstered by a clutch of third party ones which will presumably increase with time. All the content can be organised by various different categories like geotagged location or a particular hashtag and referring back to anything you found earlier is easy. This move comes on the heels of the decision to expand 'Mentions', Facebook's celebrity targeted livestreaming platform, to include a large subset of notable journalists.

News is a market Facebook have been keen to corner for quite a long time. This isn't even the first platform they've unveiled to that end. Instant Articles was launched so that news sites could post articles which could be read directly through Facebook, rather than linking out of it. It hasn't had perhaps as much success as Facebook hoped it would, but it's gradually gaining ground. FB Newswire works in a more condensed, but comparable way.

Signal will likely have more early success, considering that it comes at a time when Facebook is already a more popular news source than it has ever been. A recent survey revealed that over 60% of young users use Facebook as a primary news source and as always, the fact that over 20% of the planet are on it on a monthly basis cannot be understated in its value. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#Facebook #Signal Strikes a Body Blow to #Twitter Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, September 20, 2015 Rating: 5

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