Facebook and the New York Times team up for an augmented reality project


Facebook and the New York Times announced a joint project around augmented reality.

The filters can be seen on the New York Times Instagram account. © Instagram

An agreement signed for several years

A few hours ago, Facebook offered its Facebook Connect event around its activities related to augmented reality. Smart glasses, the virtual office of the future or even Oculus were on the program. Another announcement on this subject is highly symbolic, since it associates the famous social network with a prestigious publisher, the New York Times. The two brands have indicated that they have signed an agreement to jointly develop, over several years, a program of filters and effects that will help readers better contextualize information on Instagram.

A technical and financial contribution from Facebook

To move forward on the project, The New York Times will create an R&D laboratory dedicated to augmented reality with a dozen employees. He will develop filters and effects thanks to the Facebook developer platform Spark AR Studio. Facebook will help the team in its use of the platform and in return will benefit from feedback. Financial and technical support will also be provided by Facebook.

Concretely, users will be able to use these filters and effects directly from the New York Times Instagram account, in the dedicated tab. Users will also be able to use them on their own photos and videos. Among the first tests, we find the subjects of forest fires in California, the hundred years of the right to vote for women or the quality of the air during the Covid-19 crisis.

Towards the future of journalism?

This association is part of the continuity of a complicated relationship between press publishers and Facebook, in particular because of a dependence on traffic from the latter and questions of monetization. The tech contribution that this kind of collaboration can offer is obvious, and the importance of this type of experimentation on the future of journalism is potentially strong. This is particularly a barrier to entry in the face of competition from free news sites of varying quality, at a time when content has never been so dense online, and where the value of information is constantly questioned.

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