In February, Facebook hosted dozens of media company executives at its offices to show its content and product plans. Earlier, it had held roundtable meetings with 100-plus publishers while former TV anchor Campbell Brown, now Facebook’s director of news partnerships, threw soirees at her Manhattan apartment with news and journalism bigwigs.
News industry veterans have seen this all before. To them, Facebook is borrowing from the playbook Google has been using for years. Google has long tried to work with publishers, even if not always satisfactorily, on ad monetization and search results. In the past couple of years, its approach has evolved to fund news projects and support industry conferences and events like the secretive annual gathering, Newsgeist.
No one is confusing this with altruism — Google has a business to run — but this approach has helped position it more favorably with publishers than that other platform giant, Facebook. At a time of fear and loathing of platforms, you find a lot more directed at Facebook than Google.
A complementary model
Much of this stems from a simple fact: Google has a different business model than Facebook. Google’s business revolves around search advertising, which means sending users away from Google. Facebook, other other hand, operated a proprietary, closed network that is dependent on keeping people on its site or app in order to show them ads.