A new study finds that social media giant Facebook has become increasingly less influential when it comes to the way news is distributed. Analytics firm Parse.ly has gathered data from over 2,500 publishers and found that “ahead of the 2016 US presidential election, more than 40 percent of traffic to [the 2,5000 sites] came from Facebook. By the end of 2017, Facebook accounted for less than 26 percent of traffic to those publishers,” according to a report on Parse.ly’s findings from Wired’s Fred Vogelstein.
Vogelstein says that, “Facebook’s role in distributing news has been falling dramatically for more than a year,” and that this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. Facebook claims that the decline in clicks is due to the increasing appetite for video in news feeds.
Another important factor driving Facebook’s flailing news distribution is the increasing use of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which allows certain content to load more quickly. Vogelstein attributes Google’s push to deliver more newsy content with Facebook’s decline.
He also speculates that publishers consider Facebook’s responses since January to be “schizophrenic” and therefore less willing to deliver content through the platform.
Vogelstein highlights a number of fumbles on Facebook’s part, “For example, one week after announcing that it was changing news feed to promote more meaningful interactions between friends and family and deemphasize news, Facebook said it would start giving boosts to the most trustworthy publications based on user surveys. A few weeks later it said it also plans to boost content from local newspapers, in an effort to help struggling publishers who’ve watched much of their ad revenue flow to Facebook and Google.”
Campbell Brown, Facebook’s news partnership leader, said at a Recode conference last month that, “My job is not to go recruit people from news organization to put their stuff on Facebook. This is not about us trying to make everyone happy. My job is to ensure that there is quality news on Facebook and that the publishers who want to do quality news on Facebook have a business model that works.”
You can read Wired’s full report here.