When it’s one or two of the biggest digital media platforms, we take a closer look. When it concerns hate speech content and other big content issues, even closer. Hello Facebook.
But don’t think all is negative. Wall Street investors -- which work on their own rules -- may see some upside here. Maybe not immediately, but long-term.
After a weekend of supposedly bad advertising news of major brands pulling out, Facebook's stock closed Monday 2% up — to $220.64 per share. Year to date, the stock is up 7.5% -- and we are in the middle of some major U.S. economic troubles.
All this shouldn’t be a big surprise for social-media platform -- given early rumbles about these issues. The question remains for Facebook (and others): ‘Publisher’ or just a ‘platform’? The former meaning a lot more work and responsibility in checking the veracity of the content on its platform, much like any other news organization.
But let’s also add Twitter, Google and Amazon to the discussion.
Some big marketers say they are suspending all social-media buys in the near term. Twitter seems to be the most forward-looking here -- and then some -- tagging specific content for users with messaging to alert readers.
This aside, the overall picture is that major digital media players are steeling themselves for the regulation that is almost certainly coming -- in the U.S. and elsewhere. Many even welcome it.
And there’s this: Facebook has some 8 million advertisers, pulling in about $70 billion a year. Digital media market analysts believes the return on media investments in using Facebook by advertisers is still tremendous.
Advertisers -- in big droves -- are not going to abandon it. So, follow the money?
But what happens if one day in the future -- five, 10, 15 years from now -- Facebook takes on what TV networks witnessed starting three decades ago -- a rising new kind of competitive media.
If you were a big brand consumer marketer back in the 1960s, maybe you couldn’t conceived this happening. TV networks, starting aggressively in the 1980s and '90s, witnessed lower TV ratings, and drifting lower reach (but still tops over other platforms), for its programming because of competition.
National TV syndication came along, followed by a bigger change with big ad-supported cable networks. Now, strong digital media platforms have been added to the mix.
And where are TV networks? Still kicking. Adapting. Buying into cable, ramping up new businesses, and starting many new premium video digital platforms.
Mind you, many were still asleep at the wheel. Senior media executives are still angry they let Netflix get to where it is today.
But some of this hesitancy may be because TV networks realized their public, ad-based consumer-looking businesses had a big spotlight: Federal regulators keeping a close watch and issued rules.
Now with Facebook, big advertisers worry about brand safety, perhaps more so than with legacy media platforms like TV. Expect some tougher, sweat-producing interrogations coming for publishers, platforms -- whatever we end up calling them.