Mike Shields, reporting for Business Insider:
The media industry’s worst fears about Facebook’s huge algorithm
tweak are coming true. The women-focused publisher LittleThings is
shutting its doors, in large part because of Facebook’s recent
move, the company’s CEO, Joe Speiser, told Business Insider. […]
Since launching in 2014, LittleThings had amassed over 12 million
Facebook followers, and its videos regularly generated thousands,
if not millions, of views.
But Speiser said the recent algorithm shift, which Facebook has
said was designed to tamp down content that is consumed passively
— and would instead emphasize posts from people’s friends and
family — took out roughly 75% of LittleThings’ organic traffic
while hammering its profit margins.
Here’s how utterly clueless Speiser was about getting into bed with Facebook. In June 2016, he told The Wall Street Journal there was no reason for publishers to be nervous about Facebook:
Media companies are increasingly nervous about Facebook. While
many now rely heavily on the social network to drive traffic to
their content and to help generate revenue from their audiences,
some media executives still question Facebook’s long-term
commitment to helping their businesses.
But according to Joe Speiser, chief executive of “feel-good”
content publisher LittleThings, those concerns are unfounded.
Facebook wants to control the experience users have on its
platform, he said, but Facebook needs publishers just as much as
publishers need Facebook.
“I think we need each other. We need them for the traffic; they
need us for the content,” Mr. Speiser said on this week’s WSJ
Media Mix podcast. “I think [Facebook] cares very much. I think
without the content all these media companies are providing
there’d be that much less reason to go on to the news feed.”
18 months later exactly the thing Speiser said he wasn’t concerned about — Facebook fucking him over — forced him to shut down his company. The only platform publishers can count on is the open web. Facebook is the biggest threat there has ever been to the open web. Any publisher that is dependent on Facebook, or that trusts Facebook, is out of their goddamn mind.
★ Wednesday, 28 February 2018