Facebook is expanding its test group of local and national publishers that get to put that BREAKING NEWS banner on stories.  It added another 50 this round based on the initial results of testing.

“Drawing attention to breaking news on Facebook will help get important information to people when it matters most.” – Facebook blog post

In December and January, posts labeled as breaking news outperformed unbranded content:

  • 4% lift in clickthrough rate
  • 7% lift in Likes
  • 4% lift in Comments
  • 11% lift in Shares

Publishers will be able to mark one story a day as Breaking News and keep it labeled that way for up to 6 hours.  They’ll also get a pool of 5 more they can use whenever throughout the month.  Publishers will be able to track how their tagged post perform and FB users will get to weigh in as well.

“Readers will also be able to provide feedback when they don’t consider a story to be breaking news by clicking in the top-right drop-down menu of a post.” – Facebook blog post

breaking_wapo_earthquake-1As a reminder, here’s what Mark Zuckerberg said about the upcoming changes to the news feed in January.

The hard question we’ve struggled with is how to decide what news sources are broadly trusted in a world with so much division. We could try to make that decision ourselves, but that’s not something we’re comfortable with. We considered asking outside experts, which would take the decision out of our hands but would likely not solve the objectivity problem. Or we could ask you — the community — and have your feedback determine the ranking. We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective. – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook