journalism, news, publishing, socialmedia

Facebook’s News Feed changes leave publishers with strategies to rethink and a tougher battle against fake news

Facebook spelled out in Scrabble letter tiles
Facebook changes have left publishers with an unexpected challenge to start 2018

Publishers have been dealt a head-scratching start to 2018, following confirmation of Facebook’s previously tested News Feed changes, shifting directly posted news out of the main News Feed, leaving many strategies with an unexpected hole to plug (‘translated’ here for in layman’s terms by Adam Tinworth).

Essentially it boils down to this, from  Facebook’s own post ‘News Feed FYI: Bringing People Closer Together’, the killer blow in bold:

Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.

As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.

But amongst the issues and talking points, there could now be serious problems for official sources and publishers given a scenario where a person shares a post containing a bogus fact or fake news (whether intentional or not), appearing happily on any users News Feed, but a post from an official organisation or publisher responding, clarifying or verifying this incorrect post, would under the new logic, gain far less traction compared to the ‘popular’ post and have to work far harder to reach all those that would have seen the original. Thus reversing work done and and commitments to battle fake news by Facebook itself.

For example, the New York Times highlights:

“A bogus news story that spread in December illustrates the problem, Mr. Struharik said. The story claimed that a Muslim man had thanked a good Samaritan for returning his lost wallet, and had warned the Samaritan of a terrorist attack that was planned at a Christmas market.

The fabricated story circulated so widely that the local police issued a statement saying it wasn’t true. But when the police went to issue the warning on Facebook, they found that the message — unlike the fake news story they meant to combat — could no longer appear on News Feed because it came from an official account.”

As Frederic Filloux points out in his latest Monday Note post,”Facebook is done with quality journalism. Deal with it.” after all the troubles with ‘fake news and bad PR‘:

“Facebook has all the reasons in the world to get rid of journalism:

As acknowledged several times by Mark Zuckerberg, news doesn’t share well, compared to friends and family posts, while the entire Facebook model is based on the speed of sharing, multiplied by its two billion users, and coupled to an unparalleled knowledge of each one.”

Some interesting thoughts, amongst the various musings on ‘what do we do now’ posts from across media landscape, on amended strategies for publishers, from Lara O’Reilly at the WSJ (via Twitter), HT to Adam Tinworth – will be interesting to see how these might develop:

How publishers will react: 🔵

  • Facebook Groups prioritised 🔵
  • More journalists will be encouraged to have public profile pages 🔵
  • “Tell us what you think in the comments!”

As Facebook outline:

Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.

Essentially, for publishers, these News Feed changes mean a renewed focus on making your own site’s content as engaging, shareable (in both a technical and emotive sense) and SEO-friendly.

Relying heavily on traffic from and an audience via Facebook was always going to be a gamble. ultimately they are a profit-driven business, so whatever changes they’ve made or concessions might have come along for public organisations, the bottom line will always be the bottom line.

The goal posts have shifted, as we always knew they would. Publishers’ must battle on.

journalism, news, socialmedia

newsrewired snapshots for digital journalists: fake news war, live video, data vis, and robots

I wasn’t at the news:rewired digital news conference yesterday, 8 February, but the updates were so excellent, and adding to a timeline in Twitter Moments was surprisingly easy.

journalism, mobile, photography, tools

Apps for taking control and exporting your iPhone ‘Live Photos’

Have enjoyed using the Live Photos feature on the iPhone (models 6 and above), creating short little animated clips alongside a photo still.

There’s only one main drawback, in that outside of Apple’s world, you can’t simply download the file as video, they don’t appear as video files on your device. A minor irritation of being locked into Apple’s world. I see great use for journalism as well as family events.

But a few weeks ago I spotted an app Motion Stills (A Google creation) for outputting them as video files or looping GIFs, also the ability to compile multiple clips into a longer clips. Get Motion Stills here from iTunes.

A post inspired by video storytelling expert Robb Montgomeryhighlighting a similar appwhich lets you easily export the Live Photo files as videos, GIFs and grab frames from the clips – plus it’s only a 6MB file size, compared to Motion Stills 33MB.

But both are handy tools if you are using LPs regularly.

content, journalism, news, strategy

Worth reading: People will read your long stories on their phones (for two minutes, anyway)

Good news, publishers: People will read your long stories on their phones (for two minutes, anyway)
As publishers’ tablet dreams diminish, are smartphones picking up the slack when it comes to reading long articles online? A report out from the Pew Research Center [from May 2016] tries to answer that question, and comes away with some reassuring findings: Yes, people are willing to engage with longer content (i.e., news stories over 1,000 words) on their phones.…

Seems to be various schools of thought on this, how the length of the article affects chances of being read, or being read to the end, etc.

Underlying this question, it’s quality of the content, information or writing that really counts, especially for long-tale value.

May 6, 2016 at 02:50PM
via Instapaper

journalism, socialmedia

Tweeting the news: automation vs personalisation

Updated 26 January: Automation works for some news publishers’ tweets and moreso if story headlines have been tweaked for a Web audience, but personalising them can improve their shareability: “Optimising tweets according to social channel and audience with tone of voice, variation in content and plenty of images are proven ways to drive more engagement” by Christopher Ratcliff in the Econsultancy article:
From How The Guardian became the most tweeted UK newspaper, Laura Oliver, UK social and communities editor speaking to said ‘automation is a way for the Guardian to stay on top of the numerous stories it publishes, while at the same time allowing the team to explore different sharing options and presenting stories in different ways.’
With the help of their in -house analytics tool Ophan, Oliver continued: “It’s important for us to understand what type of stories and issues repeatedly perform well when we share them on Twitter or when they are picked up and posted by readers.”
There’s no point having an automation strategy (which clearly benefits resource-stripped news teams) without some sort of monitoring or quality control that might lead to tweaking when and how you share automatically vs the more hands-on human sharing which can react to a fast-changing news environment or audience demand.

journalism, news, socialmedia

5 things journalists should be doing with Twitter now (if you’re not already)

Here are five things journalists should be doing with Twitter now (if you’re not already) that I’ve learned during my time as digital editor for a local news operation that have served me well-ish.

  1. Use Twitter lists – they’re not well highlighted by Twitter, but they’re a hidden gem for journalists.
    Once you’ve got the ball rolling and started compiling them they can help focus on topics or communities/patches, particularly useful when stories break.
    E.g. I’ve a simple one for local travel and emergency services for when the weather goes bad or an accident occurs.
  2. Follow @magicrecs account – will flag up accounts or tweets that are gaining a lot of followers or activity on your network, have found it very relevant and useful.
  3. Be ready to screenshot important tweets as evidence – get yourself setup at work/on the move to be able to grab screenshots and back them up/share them with colleagues quickly.
  4. Learn how to use the advanced search – finding tweets by location, time, exclude and filter your results – see more tips from Social Media Examiner, on this Hootsuite blog post, and Twitter’s own advanced search tips
  5. Be realistic but consistent in your social media strategy. You don’t need to be checking it 24/7, but set yourself up with an advanced Twitter app on your phone, e.g. Hootsuite, or for iOS only: Tweetbot or Tweetlogix and set yourself check-in times that correspond with peak activity and get saved searches and Twitter lists to help you whizz through monitoring and managing your Twitter-life .

A bonus tip (that should be obvious, but we’ve all had our moments), but if a tweet or account looks too good to be true, it most likely is…

Useful links:

See also: