What if Facebook, struggling with the global “fake news” problem, just threw up its Like hands and de-prioritized news altogether? In the dawn of 2018, it doesn’t seem as far fetched anymore.
Facebook has already proven, though, that it doesn’t consider news to be sacred. Though it launched the Facebook Journalism Project almost exactly a year ago, the initiative is still finding its place.
The company’s experiment earlier this fall of moving news from users’ main News Feed to a separate Explore feed caused the traffic of news organizations in the test countries of Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia, and Sri Lanka to plummet.
Our own Shan Wang investigated the prominence of publishers’ posts on users’ feeds. She found that half of the 402 people she surveyed saw no news in their first 10 posts and only one person in the sample had news stories be a majority of their feed’s content.
A few of our 2018 predictors delved further into this quandary, and others shared ideas for how to break out of the platform chokehold. (Some also still think that there is merit to the argument of Facebook, Google, and others paying publishers for content.)