How could Facebook’s ‘pivot’ affect news outlets and digital publishers?

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

After Facebook announced plans to switch to a “privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform” — a statement that’s both complex and vague — it’s unclear how such a change could affect news organizations and digital publishers.

  • Many digital publishers and traditional publishers rely on Facebook to distribute their content via the traditional newsfeed approach.
  • However, tweaks to the newsfeed algorithm over the years have changed how these posts surface in newsfeeds.
  • Many publishers have expressed frustration that it’s become more difficult for their posts to appear in newsfeeds.
  • Facebook, on the other hand, has tried to forge partnerships with journalism organizations, including its “Instant Articles” features.
  • Facebook has since tinkered with revenue splits on ads that appear in the format as well as added features to encourage Facebook users to subscribe to email newsletters.
  • Other efforts, such as deals with news publishers to create video content for its Watch platform, have had mixed results.
  • Facebook recently indicated it will cancel two thirds of these deals.
  • While Facebook has said it doesn’t plan to remove the newsfeed, it remains unclear how Facebook’s renewed interest in messaging and security could affect news organizations that use the platform as a distribution method.
  • That said, there certainly could be opportunities for Facebook users to share news and other content via the messaging side — and Facebook could likely build tools to make such sharing easier.
  • However, how the company’s stated goal of privacy, security and encryption could affect publisher’s ability to track the effectiveness of the platform as a referral source remains to be seen.
  • Ultimately, what Facebook has said about the upcoming efforts raises more questions.