This is going to be more of a rant than a blog. But if you're interested in the current state of News on Facebook, then read on.
Firstly, Let's get you caught up....
The Australian Government have been busy writing new legislation called the News Media Bargaining Code. Basically the Australian Government have passed a law where social media outlets (Facebook & Google for now) will have to pay media outlets for the content shared on their platforms.
In response to the bill being passed, Facebook has banned all local and international news from being seen in Australia. All the pages still exist, but as an Australian we see no posts. We can't share posts on the feed or in groups.
There has been significant outrage from the Australian public about how mean the big bad Facebook is being and how unfair that they pull the news from their news feeds.
But the problem I see is, Australian Media companies have been happily using the Facebook platform for free for the past 10 years taking advantage of it as a FREE distribution channel for their content. All of the articles they write are shared on the social media platforms and it has amplified their content in a way they could never have done if they were still just selling newspapers only.
They have amassed mass audiences on the Facebook and Google platforms, not just in Australia but around the world. They've leveraged these free platforms to generate traffic to their websites, which contain advertising that they earn revenue from.
And now they (or the government on their behalf) are demanding that that Facebook and Google pay them for their content. If I was Facebook I'd ban all their content too!
I've heard people say comments like - well Facebook makes so much money from advertising on their platform, they should pay some of that to the media. But is that really fair? Facebook makes money through advertising. Every time someone sees a pages ad in their newsfeed, Facebook charges that page a fee.
If media outlets are sharing their news stories on their Facebook pages and they show up in the news feed and someone clicks on that - Facebook doesn't get paid for that. Facebook only gets paid by advertisers when ADS show up in newsfeed. So, to ask facebook to pay for something that they themselves do not get paid for, just doesn't make any sense.
But, I'm certainly not saying that journalists shouldn't be paid. Journalists work hard to bring us the latest news. They are important in the fight against fake news. They provide one of the most vital services to our communities.
But for years we have slowly watched the media outlets decline. We stopped buying newspapers, we didn't bother buying online subscriptions to media outlets. We've backed the media into a corner and demanded they give us their hard work for free.
And now we're outraged that Facebook would take it away from us. Honestly we are like a little kid having a tantrum.
Maybe if we had supported our news and media outlets with our own hard earned cash, we wouldn't be in this situation? Maybe instead of being 'outraged' by Facebook we should put our money were our mouth is and pay a journalist for the hard work they do in producing good quality, not fake news, content.
Maybe then they wouldn't be asking Facebook to pay them... because we would already have.
If you think that journalists work hard and deserve to be paid, then put your money where your mouth is and pay them for it... don't expect others to do it.
Want to have a conversation about this? Follow me on Twitter and let's talk about it.
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