Facebook might consider changing its relationship status with the media to “It’s complicated.” Media is blaming Facebook for spreading propaganda and hoaxes during the election and beyond. And much of the publishing industry’s attention has been placed on the growing “duopoly” that Facebook and Google hold over the ad market.
There’s likely more friction ahead, according to Jessica Lessin, founder and CEO of The Information, a tech news site, who joined the Digiday Podcast this week.
“It’s going to become more fraught,” Lessin said. “The relationship isn’t defined by press conferences or off-the-record meet-and-greets. The reality is, Facebook is eating the time and attention and ad dollars of most of these publications because most of them are in that entertainment side versus information side. They don’t fundamentally do unique stuff. People can play nice, and Facebook can try to come up with products that help media companies make money. But Facebook is going to do what’s best for Facebook, and media companies need to do what’s best for them. We’ll see more headlines about making nice, but these are different worlds.”
The Information, founded three years ago, now has 22 people, half in editorial, and boasts the second-biggest team in Silicon Valley covering tech. According to Lessin, the company is cash-flow positive, with 10,000 subscribers paying $399 a year.
Below are highlights from the episode, lightly edited for clarity.