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Facebook is working to develop its own television shows, according to media reports

Facebook is looking to develop its own original, scripted content, according to reports, which would put it in competition with other online television sites such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube.
Facebook is looking to develop its own original, scripted content, according to reports, which would put it in competition with other online television sites such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube. AP

In a bid to challenge other online media companies, Facebook is looking into the possibility of producing “original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content,” according to a statement Wednesday.

In other words, Facebook is working on its own television shows and movies.

Both Mashable and Re-code reported news of the development Wednesday, which comes as no surprise given the popularity of the social media’s live-streaming app, Facebook Live.

The new content would come under Facebook’s video tab, according to a statement from Ricky Van Veen, Facebook’s Head of Global Creative Strategy.

“Earlier this year, we started rolling out the Video tab, a dedicated place for video on Facebook," Van Veen said in the statement. "Our goal is to kickstart an ecosystem of partner content for the tab.”

The push for original content is still in early stages of development, according to media reports, so what exactly these shows would look like and who would be involved is still undetermined.

But Facebook is playing catch-up in a growth industry that already features established internet TV providers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and YouTube. Even other social media sites such as Twitter and Snapchat have partnered with companies to feature branded official content.

In fact, Twitter recently won out over Facebook for the rights to stream Thursday Night NFL games online. Snapchat, meanwhile, has a partnership with both the NFL and NBA to feature unique content for every game, according to Mashable. And back in October, Business Insider reported that Snapchat is planning on producing its own original content, including shows, in the near future.

The news of Facebook’s foray into TV is not the only recent development for the company as it attempts to tamp down on the spread of fake news that drew increased scrutiny during the recent presidential election.

Business Insider reported in early December that Facebook was working on a feature that would show content from approved media partners, which has been compared to Snapchat’s Discover and Twitter’s Moments sections.

At the moment, both Facebook Live and and its News Feed are not subject to any regulation by the website’s management, which has continually described itself as a tech company, not a media one. Unless a company pays for its content to be featured, posts are only seen by users depending on the number of likes they garner. As a result, fake news stories have equal footing with content from more established, legitimate sources.

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