HOME >Our action >Digital World

Why Facebook is so terrifying to media companies

Thursday 7 July 2016, by SIGNIS

London, July, 7th, 2016 (Business Insider). “Facebook is the most powerful media company the world has ever seen”, says the Business Insider. But it adds that “it is also the most worrisome for traditional journalism companies because of how it has redefined ‘news’.”

Last week, Facebook announced a new change: it is changing the composition of the Facebook News Feed to favor more posts from friends and relatives instead of news articles or entertainment posted by media companies. This decision seems to be a big surprise for many journalists: indeed, Facebook has been making a lot of overtures toward journalists in the past couple of years with features like Instant Articles and Live Video.

But Facebook is something “that a lot of journalists still don’t understand. That is because it has taken the definition of "news" back to the era before mass media even existed”, says the Business Insider. Imagine the times before newspapers, radio, and TV existed. What was "news"? What kinds of events did people talk about? They talked about things that happened to friends and family members. Things that happened in nearby places, or to relatives or old friends who now live far away. Occasionally a piece of what we would think of as news today was relevant enough to break through the noise — a new leader, a war, a disaster of some sort, an odd or unbelievable tale.

That news spread slowly through word of mouth, often picking up slight changes and distortions along the way like a game of telephone. This is exactly what Facebook has created, only on a global scale, with zero time lag. Gossip and news are indistinguishable and transmitted instantly everywhere.

This is what people want. That’s how it has become one of the two big players in online advertising — along with Google — essentially coming out of nowhere to grab the advertising dollars that used to be spent on traditional media.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
SIGNIS in the world
Choose your organization in the world.