Facebook wants to turn news feeds into actual news feeds

24 Mar 2015

The New York Times on Facebook. Image via Connor McKenna

In a further bid to keep its 1.4bn-plus users on its front page, Facebook is beginning to collaborate with news organisations to host news articles directly on the social network.

It is believed behind closed doors that Facebook executives have been discussing this possibility with a number of major news outlets in the US about bringing their content to the site, despite these organisations’ fears over losing traffic to their own sites.

Many news organisations across the world have been trying to perfect the balance between having content available to people online while maintaining a revenue stream with some publishers introducing paywalls to visitors of their online divisions, as was seen recently in Ireland with The Irish Times.

However, according to The New York Times, a number of sources close to the discussions have said that to ease the fears of the executives of these news divisions, Facebook will allow for advertisements to run along the articles which will drive revenue to them.

Keeping things simple

Given it has been the source of this information, The New York Times and its sources within Facebook have confirmed it is one of the media partners in discussions about hosting its content on the social network, along with other partners including National Geographic and Buzzfeed.

Meanwhile, sources close to The Guardian say the paper is gearing more towards a union-style agreement among the various news outlets to negotiate their own advertising rates.

Facebook are also discussing with publishers in the meantime about the simple solution of improving the speed at which an article transitions from Facebook to the original article which Edward Kim, chief executive of the analytics and distribution company SimpleReach, says would be beneficial to Facebook in the long-term.

However, Kim says there’s still a lot to be worked out between the two differing parties, “There are a lot of implications for publishers. It really comes down to how Facebook structures this, and how they can ensure this is a win on both sides.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic