When I saw the headline, ‘Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news,’ yesterday, I thought it was a joke. The first place I saw it was via LinkedIn, a colleague shared a post from Engadget.
My instinct was they they had fallen victim to The Onion. But nope.
Then it popped up in my social media stream from various other outlets. I searched out a story from either the AP or Reuters to be sure.
Facebook’s effort to establish a service that provides its users with local news and information is being hindered by the lack of outlets where the company’s technicians can find original reporting.
The service, launched last year, is currently available in some 400 cities in the United States. But the social media giant said it has found that 40 percent of Americans live in places where there weren’t enough local news stories to support it.
Personally I’m not one to blame Facebook, Google, Craigslist, or any competitor for the downfall of the newspaper industry, but I would be a fool not to see the role each has played. Personally, I believe it is the hubris of the newspaper industry that did the most damage.
Still, the thing that has irritated me most over the years is how Facebook and others have downplayed, or outright ignored the important role that local media – especially newspapers – plays in the online content ecosystem. As well as the costs involved in creating that content.
As the AP story states, “the company doesn’t plan to launch newsgathering efforts of its own.” Of course it doesn’t. Facebook knows it cannot get the math to work, its too expensive to have to run a newsgathering operation. Especially with online CPMs what they are.