Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in 2014 an opinion that was hardly worth reporting to the rapporteurs at that time and whose weight is only clear today: "Our goal is to create the perfect personal magazine for each person on newsfeed. Create this world as a threat against newspaper business model.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 43 percent of adult American citizens receive news on Facebook. Half of this group, more than a quarter of all US citizens, uses Facebook as its sole source of information. For more and more people, Facebook is the window of the world.
The changing media user involvement means that the media must be present on Facebook. So if Facebook changes its newsfeed algorithm, as it did earlier this year, media houses closed in the announcement, just as the banks focus on Fed's interest rate decision. Facebook is the information bank's central bank. The opaque algorithms depend on whether an article is clicked or visited on a website. According to a study by the SimilarWeb analyst, 48.1 percent of all visitors were redirected to Facebook by the US portal Vice last year. In British independence, 43.7 percent of desktop traffic came from Facebook. New York newspaper posted a good quarter (26.6 percent) of all visitors to the site from Facebook.
When the company switches its algorithms, it has a huge impact on the traffic of newsportals. Tech blogs show gains and losses in site listings of selected publications in statistics as if they were stock prices: + 102.8 percent – 86.8 percent – this is still looking like journalism still about price increases and losses. Price level determined in information capitalism but also Facebook.
The flow of visitors coming through the social network is very volatile. Newsports that do not adequately diversify their social media strategy risk lowering the number of visitors. The modification of the newsfeed algorithm has probably led to the online media Little Things, a lifestyle directory for women, being closed. The magazine, which employs 100 people at its editorial office in New York, specializes in feelgood articles and videos shared on Facebook.
Fueled by Facebook likes, the portal temporarily registered over 40 million site visitors a month. But after changing the newsfeed algorithm, the editors had to watch when traffic fell by 75 percent and advertising revenues fell. Prioritizing friends and families like Facebook as a monster in front of him, made the women's magazine to an end. Small things are probably the first medium that became irrelevant for programming. Journalist Lucia Moses tweeted the bitter death row: "Little Things, R.I.P. Oh, the cruelty of the algorithm." The game company RockYou, who has bought the site, is planning a new edition. Whether the online media, but each time reaches the range it had previously, is doubtful.
The fall of LittleThings is a lesson in the attention economy: Facebook can jazz portals, but lowers to insignificance – without the algorithms being subjected to public scrutiny. It's as if someone changes the transmission rates everywhere and makes sure that some stations can not send or the signals are so noisy that no one hears them anymore. Facebook is at the leverage – and can tap it anytime.
Should Facebook's unpopular media turn off the crane?
Nobody knows what medium will be a victim of the algorithmic changes next. Brazil's biggest daily newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, featured articles on Facebook in February because the editors feared a fake news search and a reduction in traffic by changing the newsfeed algorithm. It's a dilemma: on the one hand, media companies need Facebook as a distribution channel; On the other hand, they must not be too dependent on each other.
What does this mean for the free press? How many critical reports on Facebook are in the news feed? Should Facebook's unpopular media turn off the crane? Technically, that would not be a problem. Given that Facebook investor Peter Thiel drove the online magazine Gawker in bankruptcy with his secret financing of the process, one can guess what relationship some strippers have to freedom of the press: none at all.
In Britain, an initiative of the news media association, an umbrella organization for newspaper publishers, is being discussed for transmission of network companies. Because Facebook and Google have disturbed the advertising market, companies should make an annual fee for a journalism fund.
Google and Facebook have invested more than $ 3 billion in journalistic projects
Like Google's "News Initiative", Facebook has launched its own journalism project, the Facebook Journalism Project, which not only offers common news development but also education and editorial tools. Facebook and Google are now among the journalists biggest sponsors, according to a report from the Columbia Journalism Review, the two companies have invested more than $ 3 billion in various journalistic projects and media partnerships in the past three years. Nevertheless, computer publisher Nicolas Kayser-Bril claims that Google is not about journalism but about content. Google can sell ads as well as facts in addition to fakes. The same could be said for Facebook. The reason is to feed clickable content to their network.
The "personal newspaper" is a flash-tide diagnosis, because the Facebook chronicles believe every life event is a message. Here, Zuckerberg must be understood hermeneutically: the goal of creating the "perfect personal magazine" means not only attacking the newspaper industry, but also re-encoding the criteria for relevance. Newsfeed on Facebook suggests news, but only releases news from its own environment. The message from friend's wedding is just like "news" as a hurricane in the United States. Hyperpersonalization devalues everything that is constitutive to a critical public.
You must interpret Mark Zuckerberg's opinion in all ambiguity: when people read the "perfect personal magazine" they do not read a newspaper, but a newspaper. (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
Created: 14.11.2018, 14:36 clock