Reddit is rolling out a beta version of its ‘News’ tab, the company announced last week. The expansion comes after Reddit’s initial test of a news-related feature which began this May, when an alpha version was rolled out to some users of Reddit’s iOS app, explaining that it wanted to give news its own dedicated space. Reddit said it wanted to make news discovery easier for those with a lot of subreddit subscriptions.
To determine what is newsworthy, Reddit says it first figured out which subreddits were engaging with news the most. It did this by looking at the most-clicked posts by domain in the subreddits. The company came up with a list of around 1,000 domains from media publishers focused on news. This list was used to help it surface those communities where news was regularly discussed. Generic, umbrella topics such as sports, entertainment and tech were then identified. Being a discussion and vote-driven platform, Reddit also applied a filter that will show only link posts for news, it will allow video posts only for sports.
Reddit also said that this domain list was only used to find the first list of appropriate subreddits where news was often discussed – it doesn’t, however, mean that the platform is limiting news stories to those 1,000 domains. With the beta version, Reddit now offers a ‘News’ tab with options to customize the News tab by selecting the topics or subtopics. It will also introduce a ‘community pivot feature’ that will show users multiple threads from different communities on the same article.
Reddit has also said it will introduce a desktop version in the coming months.
Twitter is also taking news seriously
Apart from Reddit, Twitter is the largest social media network to take the news seriously, while Facebook remains pre-occupied with combating fake news. In June, Twitter started rolling out features aimed at personalizing users’ feed based on their interactions with other accounts and content on the app, with a renewed focus on delivering news on the platform. The updates will go live for US-based iOS and Android users in the coming few months. The company is trying to make it easier for users to “discover more of what matters to you” with a newly designed explore tab, breaking news alerts and personalized news alerts on the timeline. Twitter is changing the explore tab to be divided by topic instead of by content type along with a feature that gives a ‘recap’ of an important event along with a package of videos, tweet, news stories and articles for that event.
Siladitya adds: It is quite interesting to see Reddit and Twitter pivot so hard towards news as Facebook itself is looking to downplay news content from its user’s timelines. Reddit which see’s itself as an open discussion platform has been undergoing a massive transformation including a major redesign for its desktop site which some speculate is driven by the platform’s hope to get more advertisers on board. The pivot towards news is understandable as Reddit offers a largely user moderated community where news stories can be discussed without things descending into the chaos that is the comments section of most news sites. But with this pivot comes the challenge of dealing with misinformation and fake news. Reddit has been known for its fair share of witch hunts and a curated news index that is not managed properly can be a ticking time bomb.