Twitter, Facebook and Google have news on their minds

News flash: The tech and news industries are into each other.

After all, we’ve come a long way from the days of newspaper clippings. We can now email an article, or share it by posting a link on Facebook or Twitter. We read news on our mobile phones as we wait in line at the supermarket. We might watch short videos of news instead of tuning in to the nightly news on TV. So tech and media companies are increasingly teaming up to bring us the news where we want it whenever we want it — and collect ad revenue, of course.

One example: Twitter has snagged New York Times editor at large Marcus Mabry to head the microblogging company’s new Moments feature, which curates news and aims to bring new users to the service. Twitter rolled out Moments earlier this month, saying it can help users find “the best of Twitter,” including breaking news or content broken down by topic.

Mabry isn’t Twitter’s first high-profile news hire. For example, the company a couple of years ago brought in former NPR and NBC exec Vivian Schiller to head its global news efforts. After overseeing partnerships between news outlets and Twitter, she left in October as part of a “streamlining” of Twitter’s media division.

Meanwhile, Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles initiative, which promises to load publisher partners’ content 10 times faster on users’ mobile phones than a “standard mobile Web article,” and provide other bells and whistles. The social network announced today that Instant Articles is rolling out to all iOS users after five months of testing with a limited number of users, and that a beta version is available for Android. Facebook also is adding more partners, including the Huffington Post, Slate and MTV, and says a bunch more new partners are hopping aboard in the coming weeks.

A Pew survey in March said about 10 percent of U.S. adults get news on Twitter, and 41 percent get news on Facebook. The number of people who use social media sites to consume news continues to grow, to 63 percent in 2015.

Last stop on the tech and news train, at least for today: Want a side of virtual reality with your Sunday paper? The New York Times and Google are going to make it happen. The newspaper will produce VR films that subscribers can view on their smartphones using the NYT VR app and Google Cardboard VR viewers, which will be distributed to the newspaper’s subscribers on the weekend of Nov. 7. The first film, according to the New York Times’ press release today, will be “Displaced,” a look at the refugee crisis through the lives of three children.

Are all these moves good for you and me? Maybe for you, dear reader. As for me and others in the news business, there are creeping questions about whether our industry is becoming too dependent on tech companies to disseminate our work. But that’s for another post. For now, feel free to share this post on social media.

 

Above: Facebook has partnered with media outlets on Instant Articles. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

 

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