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News media giant News Corp acquired a social media story verification service Storyful last Friday, for $25 million. While this may pale in comparison to some of the social media purchase numbers, like the $3 billion that was offered for Snapchat, it’s an interesting development for both online news and social media sites.

Twitter and other social sites are news generators in their own right, but rumor and conjecture are rife. The problem with grabbing headlines from Twitter is that at best, the information is incomplete, and difficult to push live as ‘news’, and at worst it’s outright trolling. Hoaxes pervade and many unreliable stories rush to the top of the trending topics.

Storyful aggregates news content from all over the world, staying in touch with regional experts that are able to verify the stories and provide context. Its staff contact both those that originated the story, and local sources that can check the validity of trending stories. The service also updates a pool of stories from over 600 Twitter lists, pulling the most viral photos, videos and posts.

Social news is big business, and by distributing news directly through the original channels it, News Corp is hoping to get ahead of the crowd and become a driver of social news. With more than half of US residents getting their news through social networks, traditional print and television news stations are losing out. With a plethora of traditional news outlets among its assets, News Corp may have been feeling the pinch more than others.

This is the empire into which News Corp plans to incorporate Storyful. “Building on Storyful’s skill [...] News Corp will use its own global scale, robust digital presence and advertising expertise to enhance and expand Storyful’s video products and services [...],” the announcement reads. News Corp also hopes that with a greater focus on social stories that they’re able to drive engagement.

Breaking stories are big business and no news company wants to get caught with its pants down. News Corp is already a big player in traditional media, but now we can see the winds of change. The latest stories break through social communication tools, and old media is starting to position itself to be in charge of those stories.

Image credit: RLHyde