Facebook has no financial incentive to care whether the links we click on point to quality journalism, a silly “Which pop culture figure are you” poll, a basically true story with a sensationalized or misleading headline, pictures from a friend’s vacation, or a completely fabricated work of propaganda.
When I work with my handheld or tablet, it’s a pain to get the URL of a story I find on Facebook. Clicking the link usually opens up an inside-Facebook web browser, which is designed to keep me coming back to Facebook. Instead of opening a link in my browser of choice, with all the bookmarks and widgets I use to research and contextualize what I read online, Facebook tries to keep me in its own walled garden.
Wired has a good article on how Facebook invests time and energy inventing new ways to engage its audience, leaving journalists scrambling to deliver their content on Facebook’s terms.
News is crucial for Facebook…. People, Cathcart said, come to Facebook to talk with their friends about news. So, Facebook wants that experience to be a great—new, innovative, immersive!—one to keep you coming back. It’s built Instant Articles, so your articles load faster on your phone. It’s rolled out Live, so you can interact with your favorite newscasters, athletes, and musicians as they broadcast themselves live. It’s developed a 360-degree video format along with software and a camera that let you experience a news event like you’re there. And, now it’s opened up its API so you can chat with a newsbot from a publisher right there in your Messenger app. In other words, the new ways to create and consume news are raining down from Facebook. All of which sounds pretty great for you, the news consumer. But for news organizations, these innovations come with an insidious imperative. … Facebook has the audience news organizations are trying to reach, so they have little choice but to chase it there. —Wired