Dear Publishers, Don’t Give Your Content to Facebook for Free

…and stop building you house on rented land

A lot of news outlets are publishing videos directly on Facebook WITHOUTH ADS. Unless Facebook is paying for them, we’re deeply in the realm of nonsense. Videos are expensive, they need editing and hours of works. So, why giving them to Facebook with no charge?

I’m probably reasoning with obsolete standards, but I’m a fan of the idea that you shouldn’t build a house on rented land. That’s why I built websites around my more complex journalism ventures. But, beyond my personal experience, the idea of gifting Facebook with high quality contents needs to be — at least — debated.

The business model of many news outlets on the web is still based on ads which means metrics based upon users and page views. Even if a huge debate is asking for different metrics ever since, nothing really seems to be changing with publishers digging their grave as deep as they can. The same is worth for no-profit news organizations. Apart from the corporate policy issue of giving free content to the most profit oriented company online, once you give something away it’s no longer yours, full stop.

The road to save journalism is long. And even if paywalls appear to work (at least for big, English speaking, global news organizations) we’re nowhere close to save journalism in the long term with the same issues that are being solved over the years. The content distribution conundrum has yet to be solved with Telegram and Snapchat being only part of the solution and with Facebook (again) trying to join the business and make it own.

If someone has a good idea, it’s time to put It forward. What I can tell of this mess is that if I were forced to make an editorial startup, I would begin selling laser printed A4 paper sheets with local news at €0.30 each. It would be as innovative as reinventing the wheel, but it’s been a while since the last time I’ve seen a proper wheel running.