Facebook prioritized content from users’ friends and family in its January 2018 announcement of a News Feed change. This algorithm alteration appears to have usurped a previous priority of the social media giant — when it paid publishers and influencers millions to create original Facebook Live content. Facebook Watch now seems to have taken precedent.
While Digiday ran a somewhat hopeful headline on Feb. 28 — “Despite Subsidies Disappearing, Some Publishers See Hope for Facebook Live Post-Algorithm Change” — its coverage was the polar opposite of that from the Columbia Journalism Review on Feb. 23.
In a 1,428-word article posted to the Columbia Journalism Review, Pete Brown of the Tow Center predicts that without content from publishers, who are unhappy with its monetization, “Live as a news product is well on its way to the scrapheap.”
As for Brown’s authority on the subject, he runs the Content Analysis Hub for the Publishers and Platforms project at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
Brown writes that the following’s happened since 2016, when Facebook prioritized Live’s original content:
“The number of Facebook Live videos produced by paid partners more than halved by the end of 2017 — and in one case fell by as much as 94 percent — as once guaranteed payments ended and Facebook deprioritized the product, new Tow Center research suggests.
“In an analysis of 17 brands that were paid by Facebook to make live videos for the platform, the number published from April to December 2017 fell by an average of 51 percent when compared to the 12-month period from April 2016 to March 2017.”