'What Happens When Platforms Turn Into Publishers?' by Alexis Sobel Fitts in Columbia Journalism Review

"If you’re a publisher, Facebook holds a lot of power. The social media giant is already responsible for directing up to 40 percent of some sites’ traffic, and 75 percent of BuzzFeed’s. Now, according to a report in The New York Timeson Tuesday, Facebook is negotiating with a number of publishers to be more than a funnel that directs users to content on news sites. Instead, the story says, the company will partner with media companies (the TimesNational Geographic and BuzzFeed are rumored) to host entire stories and journalism internally, “a leap of faith for news organizations accustomed to keeping their readers within their own ecosystems,” the Times writes.

This news shouldn’t come as a surprise. Facebook executives hinted in recent months that they intend to capitalize on their 890 million daily users by incentivizing publishers and brands to create content exclusively for the site. After creating a video-hosting platform, for example, Facebook tweaked its algorithm to favor the video content that used the tool. In February, Chris Cox, the company’s chief product officer, announced that Facebook intended to extend these services to all content. By hosting it, Cox argued, the platform could produce a better user experience than publishers—optimizing stories for mobile, for instance."

Read full article here.