Facebook wants to focus on the news. The massive social network that accounts for more than one billion users was at the center of a report that connected publishers such as the New York Times, Buzzfeed, and National Geographic. The potential deal was reported on by the New York Times, and interestingly would be Facebook at the center of the universe, when it came to exclusive news related content.
While the specifics of such an agreement would be complicated, at best, it really does reveal how traditional publications – like the Times are struggling in a highly digital space. Many though are questioning the strength of that type of agreement, and how much of a negative impact an agreement like that would have on digital publications as a whole.
Clearly, content would be streamlined, and it would be great for those who use Facebook – but at the same time, even with more than a billion users – Facebook’s strength is quickly deteriorating. Users are defecting to other types of social networks – which focus on other factors, like sharing photos or quick messages, like Snapchat.
At the end of the day, this is a move that would completely change the way people consume news and consume the information that is already being delivered to their fingertips. It would seem though, that this is really a shortsighted move that is being played in order to take advantage of what newspapers and other organizations that rely on print have lost in recent years. As the circulation has declined, it has really become a challenge for any of these publishers to maintain a foothold.
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Revenue sharing of ads is really the big question mark throughout this entire process. Facebook is used to winning a significant portion of advertising, and the payout would have to be pretty significant in order to tame what publishers and news organizations make off of the ads that they place around their content. However, personalizing that content, and having access to the massive amounts of user data that Facebook has access to right now – really isn’t something that any publisher or media outlet can compete with.
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Until the details are worked out though, and made public, none of this can be taken too seriously. Especially given the fact that publishers would be giving up a ton, in order to gain a slightly larger profit today.