Tuesday February 25, 2020
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Facebook News: Boon for Some, Ban for Many

Wait and watch as more details emerge about Facebook News

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The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

With Facebook announcing to bring top media houses onboard as it faces extreme scrutiny amid ongoing regulatory hearings over privacy violations, one thing is clear: struggling small and medium media outlets now face a strong rival, starting with the US.

The significant media handshake from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come after years of shaky relationship between the two.

Facebook never called itself a media organisation, despite experimenting with splashing news on its platform.

In 2015, the social networking platform launched Instant Articles, hosting news content inside its app.

“But heavy-handed rules restricting advertising, subscription signup boxes and recirculation modules led publishers to get little out of Instant Articles. By late 2017, many publishers had largely abandoned the feature,” reports TechCrunch.

The company also discontinued its Trending News section in June last year.

This time, Zuckerberg has played his cards well, by bringing 200 news outlets including the “alt-right” Breitbart News, despite its history of white nationalism and propagating racist conspiracies, under its umbrella.

What’s more, Facebook will reportedly pay as much as $3 million to licence headlines and previews of article from “major news outlets”.

This spells bad news for already bleeding small and medium publishers, not only in the US but in other countries including in India.

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

Zuckerberg predicts 20 million to 30 million people could use the News tab in a few years.

The News tab will initially be available to about 200,000 people in some of the largest cities in the US. The company has Facebook hired a team of journalists to help curate major national stories.

Facebook and news organizations have had a strained relationship in the past “because both compete for ad dollars”.

Also Read: Tesla Unveils Third Version of its Solar-roof Product

Facebook and Google are pocketing more than 70 per cent of the digital ad spend globally, leaving scores of news organisations to vie for the rest.

Accoding to several media reports, Facebook News will have an uneven impact on news publishers a” with the largest ones benefiting the most.

Industry analyst Ken Doctor was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald that Facebook was risking backlash by choosing to pay some publishers but not others.

Will this media handshake also help Facebook control the scathing criticism coming from some of the top media outlets too, as regulators and governments go after the social media platform, including the break-up Facebook call?

Wait and watch as more details emerge about Facebook News. (IANS)

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Facebook, Sony Pull Out Of Games Developer Conference Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Earlier this month, global telecom industry body GSMA cancelled the 2020 edition of the tech industry's biggest event -- MWC due to health safety concerns around novel coronavirus outbreak

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Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco a week back. Pixabay

 Big technology players such as Facebook and Sony have pulled out of the forthcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC) over concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This comes after coronavirus derailed the world’s biggest mobile exhibition — the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

Just one day after announcing it wouldn’t be attending PAX East, Sony confirmed that it also won’t be attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this March in San Francisco also due to coronavirus concerns, Android Central reported on Thursday.

It is pertinent to note that Sony had cancelled plans for MWC as well and the novel coronavirus situation in China has caused a lot of distress across the tech industry.

Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco a week back.

Coronavirus
Big technology players such as Facebook and Sony have pulled out of the forthcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC) over concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This comes after coronavirus derailed the world’s biggest mobile exhibition — the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. VOA

Facebook, which owns VR company Oculus, also announced it won’t be attending GDC in either capacity. Chris Pruett, the director of content ecosystem at Oculus, said in a statement, “Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community as a whole, Facebook’s AR/VR and Gaming teams won’t be attending this year’s Game Developers Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19”, the report added.

ALSO READ: “Should Online Platforms Be Liable for User Posts?”, Asks U.S Attorney General William Barr

Earlier this month, global telecom industry body GSMA cancelled the 2020 edition of the tech industry’s biggest event — MWC due to health safety concerns around novel coronavirus outbreak. (IANS)