Mark Zuckerberg Predicts 30 Million People Will Want Facebook News

Facebook rolled out a new Facebook News section Friday, a tab in the mobile app that is dedicated solely to news articles. The company hopes that the section will combat the spread of fake news articles and help mend a strained relationship with the publishing industry.

“This is going to be the first time ever that there is a dedicated place in the app that’s focused on high-quality journalism,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an event in New York City with News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson.

The social media network is working with more than a dozen news organizations including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and some digital-only brands such as Buzzfeed and Business Insider.

(Disclaimer: Forbes is a Facebook News launch partner and one of the 150+ news organizations that are whitelisted partners that will be included in suggestions.)

Zuckerberg said he predicts 20 million to 30 million people could use the tab in a few years.

“The thing that’s changed in the last few years is that we’ve gotten secondary tabs to work,” Zuckerberg said, referring to sections of the Facebook app outside of the News Feed homepage, such as Marketplace, that most people still don’t use. “In the beginning, it wasn’t clear that [secondary tabs] were going to be successful.”

The News tab will initially be available to about 200,000 people in the country’s largest cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, Miami, Atlanta and Boston. It’s only on mobile.

Facebook will reportedly pay for at least some of the content included in the tab. Representatives from Facebook told news executives they would pay as much as $3 million to license headlines and previews of articles from major news outlets, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Facebook has hired a team of journalists to help curate major national stories that will populate the Today’s Stories, one of four sections in the tab. The company says the team will have full editorial independence and has published publicly available guidelines that the curators will abide by.

It’s a second-try at using journalists to curate the news. Facebook faced a torrent of criticism during the 2016 presidential election for perceived liberal bias in its Trending News section. The company discontinued its Trending News section in June of last year.

Other sections of the tab will be governed by Facebook’s algorithm to personalize the news. It will also include topics of interest (such as business, entertainment, and sports) and stories from paid news subscriptions.

This post was updated to reflect Mark Zuckerberg’s comments.