Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Media: "Facebook in 2015: Pivot to video! Facebook today: Local news is dead!"

Ah the pivot to video
Last month while reading ""2019 has been a terrible year for digital media so far"." I wondered why the companies and journos who did the "pivot to video" based on Facebook's criminally inflated engagement figures hadn't sued and won. It seems an easy enough case, FB lied and the mini-media companies that made decisions base on those lies lost a lot of money but the only lawsuit I could think of had been dismissed.

With that not-quite-on-point introduction here's Fast Company, March 18:
Benevolent Doctor Facebook today gave the country a very grave diagnosis via a blog post. The company has found that–wait for it–local news is dying. In fact, Facebook says that about one-third of all Americans live in a local news desert–meaning they simply don’t have access to real, local reporting. It’s a big problem, Facebook bemoaned, and it says it wants to try and fix it. Thank you, good doctor.
As a result, Facebook’s Journalism Project has announced its intention to look into this problem, share data with researchers, and continue to invest in a tool to help promote local news.
For the last few months, Facebook has been trying to build a program called Today In that would aggregate local stories. The problem it discovered, however, was that there just wasn’t enough content in most regions to make such a thing useful. Here’s how bad the national news desert problem is, according to Facebook:

[Source: Facebook]
Of course, local news is a topic people should be talking about–as well as something people should be trying to fix. But it’s extremely rich for this announcement to come from Facebook. Lest we forget, it was only about three years ago when Facebook wasn’t making such dooming prognostications, and instead was trying to woo all publishers onto its platform. At once, Facebook used its distribution leverage to recommend that news organizations pivot to video. It also encouraged these companies to publish articles directly to its platform with its Instant Articles feature....