Published: Wed, October 25, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Facebook experiment could crush smaller publishers

Facebook experiment could crush smaller publishers

Facebook is running the experiment in six countries, including Slovakia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Cambodia, and Guatemala and will likely go on for months. Instead, those posts will exist in a separate "Explore Feed".

If removing publishers' posts from the main news feed becomes a permanent feature, publishers might have to fork over ad dollars for a sponsored post to get onto a desired audience's main page.

Promoted posts still appear in the real news feed, as they always have done.

First, the real estate in Facebook's News Feed is not as infinite as it seems. "I kind of miss the Facebook that was JUST my friends on my feed", said one.

So you can imagine how thrilled journalists were Tuesday to wake up to a new set of "news feed publisher guidelines", in which Facebook admonishes news outlets for following the unwritten rules of social engagement that Facebook itself created.

"We now have no plans to roll this test out further", said Facebook's VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri. Pages that want to run ads in the personal News Feed would need to pay up, but Facebook emphasized that it had no plans to require Pages to "pay for all their distribution".

The Explore Feed's goal is to show users posts from people or publishers they don't follow, in hopes that they'll find new stuff they wouldn't otherwise see.

For publishers anxious that the News Feed will become entirely "pay to play", Facebook says that there aren't now any plans to roll it out further at this time. The social network was then forced to provide further clarification in which it says the test is limited to six countries and there are now "no plans to roll this test out further".

Facebook is telling publishers to relax about a test it's conducting that separates content into two news feeds. Facebook now doesn't charge any user for content promotion and the facility is optional.

Facebook says the point is to give people two feeds: One with stuff from their friends and family, and the other from businesses and publishers. "We now have no plans to roll this test out further", Facebook's head of the News Feed, Adam Mosseri, explained in a post.

Could this be Facebook showing that it can survive without news publishers and has a back-up revenue model in the wings?

Third, Page owners are not opposed to paying Facebook to promote their posts.

The test, which is occurring in six smaller countries, now offers two user feeds, according to a statement from the company: one feed focused on friends and family and a second dedicated to the pages that the customer has liked.

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