The latest in Facebook rumor land is that the social media giant is going to start charging users to read news content.
Go ahead and Google "Facebook charging users" and see all the hits that come up.
Before you start telling members in your business networking group, or tweeting or posting this "breaking story", understand that the story is not entirely true.
Here is what Facebook, along with publishers, are exploring:
Facebook is planning - PLANNING - on testing - TESTING - a news service that may, after several free readings in a month, ask the reader to signup for a digital news subscription.
This planned testing revolves around Facebook's Journalism Project and Instant Articles service, using a paywall approach, that is already being used by news media companies.
Obstacles to full implementation are if or how revenue may be split between the social media company and publishers, and whether or not the news industry's peition to Congress for a limited anti-trust exemption allowing them to collectively negotiate with companies like Facebook and Google will be granted.
The other big obstacle will be, of course, market acceptance.
Regardless of Facebook's direction, the news industry has been and continues exploring recapturing lost revenue from print in the online space. So, even if Facebook scraps their plans for news subscriptions, the news industry will forge ahead. What this means is that even if you or I copy and paste an article's headline in Google, the publisher may still ask for a fee - "may" being the operative word.
Today, there are newspapers already charging for their online content, and the industry has yet to figure out how to make up for lost revenue since the internet and social media explosion.
The other part of this story is big media. Small media and "alternative media" will likely continue offering content for free consumption as they rely mostly on site advertisements.
Facebook and Google are, as of yet, not without competition. Google has an alternative to Facebook, Google+. Both Google and Facebook are targeted by WeMe. Microsoft's Bing search tool is also targeting Google. What this means is that one major misstep by any of these companies can change their fortune and their future.
So, keep on posting what you post, and read, ignore, like or "WOW" other's posts. You won't be forced to dish-out any of your hard-earned coin on Facebook to stay current.
If you want to glimpse into a possible other challenge for the news industry? Google "Facebook working on way to charge for reading news articles" Just read the snippets for each search hit. They all read the exactd same way. Think about that and ask yourself why that is. Is it a result of independent reporting, or republishing one source?
Sources: Fortune Magazine and Forbes
Musings, thoughts and perspectives from the Digital Marketing Partner team
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