Will that be changing?
A couple of years ago, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said the company was “responsible for the content” on its platform.” Baby steps.
Facebook announced last week it would give $25 million in grants to local TV/media news outlets and spend $75 million in a marketing drive for global media organizations, given the economic downturn created by the coronavirus.
It isn’t for lack of interest in news — at least for legacy TV stations and other local media digital outlets. There is greater interest and usage of news overall. What isn’t there is advertising dollars to support it.
We blame a lot of this on Facebook — allowing bad actors to infiltrate the 2016 presidential election on its platform, misguided attempts to protect privacy, and inflated video metrics upsetting social-media advertisers.
The latter resulted in average viewership metrics on some videos increased by up to 900% as a result of Facebook's errors, according to reports. As a result, Facebook agreed to settle a lawsuit, paying $40 million in a settlement. Some would call this chump change for the company.
And now it wants to give $100 million to local media and reporters affected by lower advertising. Is all this just Facebook looking to make more amends?
For a long time, Facebook's news efforts have been blurred by bad actors distributing a toxic mix of advertising/editorial fused with unconfirmed messages. That’s not the way journalists and the media have traditionally operated.
Recently, Facebook and Twitter have made some efforts to slow down bad content. There is still a long way to go.
For a long time, local news publications — TV stations, newspapers and otherwise — have used Facebook as a great promotional tool for their platforms straight-head news. The frenemy modifier has worked here for some.
In other news, the Google News Initiative is giving $6.5 million to a number of nonprofit, fact-checking groups worldwide to help get accurate information to the public about COVID-19, amid rumors, hoaxes and false claims.
It’s not clear any of this will promote more meaningful trust in social media, given even higher consumption of traditional news outlets.
All this comes as overall revenue gains for big digital media providers will tank over the next several months, with many expecting near-term massive advertising declines. An IAB survey says this could mean a 40% drop in April/May; somewhat abating in the next two months -- June/July.
So both new and older media are now at the same downward advertising inflection point. What is on the other side?