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Mark Zuckerberg has argued zillion times that Facebook is not a media company, but a tech-based company. During the recent hearing at Congress, Mark said, “I consider us to be a technology company because the primary thing that we do is have engineers who write code and build product and services for other people”.
Facebook is also part of the products Mark mentioned. By the way Facebook was originally designed to help connect with friends and families (this will be another post for another day), after it became open to the public to access. We all know that Facebook’s purpose has now changed, this medium is one of the highest social referral traffic conduit for news websites. Our timelines are no more filled with updates from our friends and families, but paid news content (whether fake or real, you decide). Even the content your friends and family share have all been diluted with discourse around breaking news, what news is trending and so on.
A traditional media house basically has these core functions – content generation, publishing, distribution and monetizing. Let’s see how Facebook functions in the same approach:
Content generation – Facebook generates content through paying media houses to use it products like Facebook live for specific Facebook events to generate content for the company (Find more here – https://digiday.com/ …/facebook-plans-to-stop-paying-publis…/). Facebook has a trending feature, which displays only news contents and breaking news. You can find it here at their newsroom website – https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/06/removing-trending/
Publishing – We will skip this. We are not oblivious to this.
Distribution – Facebook and Google are the two leading companies for social referral traffic to almost all news publishing houses. In 2015, Facebook accounted for 43% of all social referral traffic with Google having “just” 38%. Although there is a decline with social referral traffic from Facebook due to changes in its algorithms as a result of fake news pressure, Facebook still hits around 30%.
Monetising – Think of the Ads you pay to promote your content, media houses invest huge sums of money to make their news content visible to users of Facebook. According to Forbes, “ Companies are allocating about 30-40% of their total annual media spend budgets toward Facebook”. By the way, 98% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising.
Facebook had a small editorial team, about 18 editors, they got fired in 2016 and we all know the aftermath of that – fake news escalated. So, Facebook needs to accept its new status and take the responsibility as a media house