• Tools encourage newsgathering on Facebook and Instagram
  • Social network in competition with Twitter for live event news

Facebook Inc. posts will become easier for journalists to sort through and embed in their stories.

The new tool, called Signal, will work for Facebook and Instagram and help reporters gather public photos and commentary to add to their writing, just as they do with posts from Twitter Inc.’s website. In the Signal application, journalists can see what’s trending on Facebook, as well as data about who is driving the conversation. They can also check Instagram for pictures related to global news events, the company said Thursday in a blog post.

Twitter Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said Wednesday that Twitter’s audience may be larger than Facebook’s if you account for the people who see tweets distributed outside of the company’s main application. With Signal, Facebook intends for public posts to be more widely embedded around the web, especially as it courts celebrities and other public figures to share their moments on the social network first.

The new tool is a technological improvement from Facebook’s current search feature. On Wednesday, two hours into a Republican U.S. presidential debate, the social network didn’t surface any of the most recent content. Journalists are a unique audience in need of information happening at the moment. Facebook has increased its focus on partnerships with the media, after earlier this year unveiling Instant Articles, a way to enable the New York Times, Buzzfeed and other media organizations to publish more directly to Facebook with faster load times for their articles.

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