Facebook is working on a new tool that could help drive subscriptions to news organizations that publish articles directly on the online service, an effort to improve the fraught relationship between the social giant and media companies, reports the New York Times, which added the tool “would be added to Facebook’s Instant Articles product, which allows publishers to post news articles that can be read within Facebook rather than on the publisher’s website.

“The discussions about the tool are still in the early stages, according to two people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were not public. But it is possible that Facebook could produce a metered pay wall product similar to those used by some publishers. After reading 10 New York Times articles on Facebook, for instance, a user could be sent to The Times’s subscription sign-up page.

“Facebook plans to start a pilot with a small group of publishers using the tool in October and to expand the initiative in 2018 if early results are promising. It was not clear which publishers might participate in the test.

“The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on the discussions.”

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