Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has reportedly trumpeted its very first prime news shows on Facebook Watch, exclusively for the social network. This marks the social networking giant taking a leap towards joining other online video producing platforms to compete with television.
The first slate of news shows will be coming from different potent partners of Facebook that includes CNN, Fox News, ABC News and Univision. Earlier, in an earnest effort of competing with platforms such as Google-owned YouTube, Facebook launched Facebook Watch last year. Made to potentially boost the follower list, the original news programs will be produced in the social network’s video service platform.
Following the breakout of fake news on the social network platform, the launch of news shows is to garner quick attention towards Facebook’s effort of producing authentic news and eradicating misinformation, altogether. As per Facebook’s news partnership chief Campbell Brown, Facebook is now making ceaseless efforts to show news that are trustworthy, informative and accessible on Facebook feed. With an aim of producing ace quality and primary news content on the platform, the initial program will include “On Location” hosted by ABC, marking a fierce congregation of the network’s journalists, scattered globally. Other shows trailing by are, CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle” and “Fox News Update” hosted by chief news anchor Shepard Smith.
“We’re exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them,” says Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s head of news products.
Amidst huge criticism, Facebook and other social media platforms were skinned alive when their role in leaking user data during the 2016 US election was made public. This specific launch of publishing news on Facebook is merely an attempt to restore lost trust in the wake of data leak scandal and bridge the yawning relationship with its ally.
Facebook News: Intentional or Passive Viewing?
With its reach of more than 2.2 billion users, Facebook already caves in the major section of news that people consume. However, now with a $90 million budget to produce original news programming, it’s setting foot into the licensed news. There are claims that brief up the whole propaganda wherein there are efforts to pitch in mainstream anchors and producing Facebook-specific content.
But in close contrary to the efforts, there are stats that divulge the blunt truth of Facebook Watch and it’s global reach.
Facebook’s Watch section hasn’t yet proven its worth and hence, the introduction of this dedicated news section is amidst serious doubts. There hasn’t been any significant video-watching habit, evident on its platform. As per reports by Business Insider, although there are viewing spikes initially, it is soon followed by steep declines in the viewership. Along with this, the total views aren’t noteworthy either. Publishers who have worked in Facebook mini shows suggest that people are resorting more towards passive watching rather than intentional since the views are garnered from the news feed only.
The Bitter-Sweet Relationship
The social media leviathan is paying rather handsomely to some media organizations – up to seven figures altogether- to financially secure the news-content advent. But as evident as it seems, Facebook shares a complicated relationship with the news industry. Earlier, the publishers were benefited by the network’s vast audience reach. However, now this has eventually turned out to be a bitter pill since Facebook has been marauding off major advertising revenues. Again, Facebook’s move to revamp its News Feed feature was merely a strategic alignment to boost the quality of platform, which was otherwise, clogged up with fake news. This made media organizations question their reliability on Facebook to promote their content.
Moreover, the struggle to figure out eminent main-stays in the digital platform is real. While Facebook lists down its collaborating partners, which includes CNN, ABC news, Fox news etc, many other big broadcasters are missing, for instance, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
With an offer of revenue guarantees and brand security, Facebook news has been repeatedly termed as a “test”. This smart move is, perhaps, to mask the shock lest it suffers a down-fall and doesn’t work out as expected.