Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is making efforts to become the personal “newspaper” of all major daily events and happenings that take place. While this move might benefit the social-media giant largely, traditional news media is already ailing, and Facebook’s success will only add to its woes.
The way people get information in the digital age has taken a dramatic shift, and social media platforms have become a key source of news for many of its users. In a forum earlier this month, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wants users’ News Feeds to act as a personalized newspaper of all the latest news.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s strength lies in the fact that it can easily customize News Feed to suit the needs of its users by showing only topics of interest to them. The News Feed could help users with world news, community events and updates about friends or family by mixing together.
“It’s a different approach to newspapering,” said Ken Paulson, a former editor of USA Today, who is now dean of communications at Middle Tennessee State University. “It’s neither good nor bad, but it’s something a traditional newspaper can’t do.”
According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, Facebook serves as a major driver of traffic to news websites, and it also serves as a source of news to at least 30% of Americans.
Facebook News Feeds offer more choices
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has an algorithm that determines which topics are of interest to its users, and only those topics are served up in the News Feeds of each user. This customization is what makes it a better source of news compared to traditional newspapers. In a newspaper, users are not free to make choices regarding what they want to see. Instead, such decisions are made by an editor.
Experts note that the algorithm Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) uses for its News Feeds takes into consideration tens of thousands of factors. Facebook users have a higher chance of seeing what interests them, as the social network has all the data of their family and friends. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wants to make the algorithm better, and for this, it has hired many engineers and data scientists.