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As Facebook fiddles with its publishing methods, visibility of free news posts might be threatened

The testing of a new Facebook news feed worries news sites and businesses, By Elsa Trujillo  24/10/2017

Facebook is testing in six countries the separation into two separate threads of friends’ posts and advertisements on the one hand and media, association or business posts on the other. Consequence: the free visibility of the pages is in danger.

Facebook is currently testing a feature that can be highly detrimental to content creators online. The company is experimenting in six countries (Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala and Cambodia) a new formula in which it divides its newsfeed in two. On the one hand, your friends’ posts, advertisements and sponsored posts. On the other hand, posts sent by news sites, business pages, associations and native content such as non-sponsored videos for example.posts, advertisements and sponsored posts. On the other hand, posts sent by news sites, business pages, associations and native content such as non-sponsored videos for example.

In Slovakia, the change quickly translated into a significant drop in the country’s media interactions, according to Filip Struharik, a Slovak journalist who first spotted this test. Less exposed to these contents, Facebook users were in fact less inclined to share them

“The reach of several Facebook pages dropped between Thursday and Friday last two-thirds from previous days,” he says. According to him, the Facebook pages of the sixty main Slovakian media have generated four times fewer interactions since the beginning of the test. The analyst firm Crowdtangle, acquired by Facebook in November 2016, has similar results in Cambodia and Guatemala.

Network dependence The deployment of such a feature worldwide threatens both small sites and large news sites, which have become partially dependent on social networks for their traffic. In France, some media even bet on a diffusion exclusively based on social networks.
For example, Brut, Explicite or Minute Buzz online media. The change would also cause Pages publishers to pay for advertising in order to reach their audience. The organic reach of their content, namely reaching readers without paying distribution, would be considerably reduced.

Aware of the intense emotion provoked in the media and community managers by the discovery of this test, Facebook said Tuesday evening in a statement: “The purpose of this test is to understand if users prefer to have two separate spaces for personal publications and public posts. People tell us that they want easier access to the publications of their friends and family, “says Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s news feed.

“We do not currently plan to extend this test to other countries or ask pages to pay Facebook to appear in the newsfeed,” says the social network. He added that he will take into account the results of the tests in the six countries, to understand if it is an “idea that deserves to be continued”.For several months, Facebook has been trying to renew its news feed and get rid of filter bubbles, this algorithmic straitjacket that only offers users of its network content recommended according to their tastes. In early August, the network tested the introduction of political content in the news feed. The company intends to put forward publications, images and videos of politicians to allow users to see messages on a political edge different from theirs. Since the US presidential election, the social network is struggling with the problem of “fake news”, or false information, which are shared on its pages and can influence voters.

January 19, 2018 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, media

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