Facebook As a News Site

Over spring break I sat around for awhile trying thinking of a topic for my final project for this class (current issues in mass media). The assignment is to think of the future of something related to mass media. Finally I had this ah-ha moment of what if all news organizations were on one social media website. People could pay to receive all their news from one site. It would be personalized and folks would have the ability to like, share, repost articles for all their friends to see. I thought it was a great idea, my family members not so much.

Well, jokes on all of us because Facebook beat me to the punch. The New York Times wrote an article today called Facebook May Host News’ Site Content. To sum up the article, partners such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and National Geographic would post their content on Facebook. They could then make money from advertisers running alongside the content.

The proposal comes with the risk of giving away content, losing clicks on the news organizations own webpage, the loss of consumer data which might go to Facebook instead and anyone not hopping on the Facebook train might lose out on significant traffic. But as Quartz wrote, The Homepage is Dead. Traffic on the NYT homepage as dropped by half and instead people are getting their news from social media.

Surprisingly, or not, this includes young adults who in a American Press Institute study on how millennials  (ages 18-34) get their news they found that 69% got news daily. 39% actively seek out news and 60% “bump” into it but non-less kids are seeing it. Maybe we don’t read a newspaper every morning like our parents do, but we’re somewhat updated on whats going on in the world due to social media.

Based on PewResearch Social Media Update 2014, Facebook remains the largest social media site. More than half of all adults 65 and over have Facebook. 71% of Internet users are on Facebook and 70% engage with it daily. Facebook already acts as a homepage for many people and with an addition of news, I think those numbers would only increase. This proposal would be a major win for Facebook.

Once again Facebook is paving (more like bulldozing) the path of the future. They’re taking the biggest problem for news organizations and giving them a solution, which not so coincidentally will also be extremely beneficially to themselves. I think news organizations won’t really have a choice if they put their content on Facebook or not, especially if the majors do it everyone else will have to follow suit. As a Facebook user and member of the millennial generation I like it. A one stop shop for information and it’s free – sign me up.

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