It’s not often that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. gets to play the wounded victim of a manipulative media giant -- but this time maybe it really qualifies.
This week, Robert Thomson, News Corp.’s CEO, lashed out at an even bigger gorilla, Facebook, for changing the algorithm that governs users’ newsfeeds to show less content from news providers in favor of posts from their Facebook friends.
According to Campaign Live, Thomson said the algorithm changes demonstrate why publishers can’t rely on Facebook for distribution, despite the tempting prospect of reaching sizable segments of its 1.7 billion-strong audience.
CL quoted Thomson: “We certainly want to have a powerful network [of our own]. You’ve seen the reports about Facebook starting to tweak the algorithm to – in some cases, it’s very clear -- reduce the prominence, if not remove, various news sources.”
Thomson continued, calling out Facebook for its treatment of publishers: “For media companies that have become dependent on a social network -- and sometimes anti-social when it comes to other media providers -- it highlights the imperative of having a powerful network and having powerful relationships [independent of Facebook].”
Thomson added that media companies must create their own “network effect.”
Earlier this week, Adam Mosseri, Facebook vice president of product management, explained the latest changes to the newsfeed in an interview with reporters at the company’s headquarters: “Your average friend probably posts a few things a week, the average publisher you follow probably posts hundreds of things a day. We’ve made some ranking changes to try to better connect people with their friends.”
As noted in a previous post, the new system prioritizes personal content over news and information, which in turn, takes precedence over entertainment content, as set forth in Facebook’s summary of the “values” determining which types of content get the most exposure. It covers all types of content from publishers, including article links, video, and live video.
On the plus side, publisher content that is actively shared by users is more likely to show up in their friends’ newsfeeds than content coming directly from the publisher’s own Facebook page.