It’s no secret that Facebook has been making a big push into capturing our attention around news. A decade ago news organizations “owned” creation, distribution, monetization, and attention. One could argue that Facebook has been making a play for just about every aspect of the news business, perhaps save for creation (for now).
Two days ago I noticed something that might have been easily otherwise overlooked. Do you see what’s new?
A little more context… I was running through my News Feed as I do a few times a day, and happened across this post from my friend Josh. The headline grabbed me, so inevitably I clicked on it for a quick read. Upon returning to the app something new appeared below the post that wasn’t there before. Let’s look at it a little deeper:
Notice the new line, a sneaky addition below the title and graphic. “See more articles from Sari Horowitz” and a Follow button directly nearby. Nowhere do you see a mention of the Washington Post in that lockup…it’s tucked away humbly displayed as a lowercase URL below the title.
Make no mistake about it, they’re doing something very, very bold here:
Facebook is disintermediating the publisher altogether.
By creating a direct relationship between a journalist and their fans, Facebook is getting one step closer to a future where readers may be less dependent on publications as a whole, and instead to individual journalists and the works they create. This is powerful and makes all the sense in the world why they’d go after this.
I won’t sit here and pontificate on all the various ways that this could shape the news industry or our relationships to journalists. This just felt like something to call attention to. I’d be very curious about everyone’s thoughts on this…from people that follow social media and Facebook closely, to the journalists whose works could be more closely followed through this. If you write a response, I’d be happy to recommend it so that we can all consider the implications together.