Good news for job-hunting reporters: Facebook is looking for a few “seasoned journalists”—real human journalists—to curate stories for its News Tab, a new service that will aggregate news from reliable publishers, the New York Times reports.
While the News Tab will fill its thirst for content mostly via an algorithm, a team of human editors will curate the top stories and breaking news items of the day. The human editors will only select stories and link back to the original sources, so they will not need to use the headline-writing skills honed over years of working in, you know, an actual newsroom. That J-school degree will also not be used to edit stories or write original news content for the site.
Instead, Facebook seems intent on hiring human editors to use their news experience to personally vet the stories that appear in its top news section and ensure that it’s directing readers to the original reports, rather than aggregated versions. That means that Mark Zuckerberg and his Stanford- and MIT-educated team of well-paid engineers either can’t write a computer program to find a link in an article or they just want to personally prop up the employment rate for journalists. Either way, it seems likely that as soon as those computer whizzes do figure out an algorithm that works, Facebook will have its own round of newsroom layoffs.
Facebook isn’t alone in using *shudder* humans. Apple News already relies on journalists, and LinkedIn has an in-house editorial team. Still, Facebook has a much wider user base than either Apple News or LinkedIn, and its move toward humans could raise eyebrows among those who like to accuse Facebook of political bias and allowing Russian interference in elections, as well as those concerned about humans monitoring their private preferences and privacy in general.