THE SINS OF FACEBOOK

OK, we get it.

Social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular, are the darlings of TV executives from the corporate office to the GM office, through promotion and into the news director’s cubbyhole.

After all, where else can you do FREE promotion for your offering and delude yourself into believing that you are actually pushing users toward your newscast?

But, even if you eagerly embrace the delusion, you are paying a price.

Facebook, in particular, is making free use of your material and, in turn, scoring millions of $$ by offering advertisers special access to users’ data and activities.

Emails and internal documents released by a British lawmaker this week illustrate how Facebook used people’s data as a bargaining chip in its rise to the top of the social media heap.

Internal communications, some of them from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, appear to show Facebook trading access to user data in exchange for advertising buys and other concessions, which would contradict Facebook’s long-standing claim that it doesn’t sell people’s information.

And one of their tools is the content supplied to them – free – by both print and broadcast media, eager to  draw in viewers and readers.

But, by and large, it is Facebook that is reaping the rewardsIf there is an “enemy of the people,” it’s Facebook.

The media is flawed, but it’s intent – we’ll leave Fox News primetime out of this discussion)- is not to mislead.

With the full cooperation of local executives, Facebook has been given free rein to destroy the entire business model for news, specifically locally news, through theft/financial co-opting of intellectual property.

No, kids, this isn’t healthy competition, or disruption or whatever the hell it’s being called these days.

And those who defend it are either dense or disingenuous.

Someone recently pointed out on another forum that Craigslist gets blamed for killing newspapers because they “stole” classified ads.

But that’s utter bullshit.

They created a better product and platform for classified ads, and profited from that.

The newspaper industry couldn’t compete.

Fair and square.

On the other hand, Facebook might have created new, better platforms for disseminating news content, but news companies were left to foot the entire bill for the content while Zuckerberg Inc. pocketed 80% of all digital ad revenue.

It’s a Ponzi scheme and always has been.

For two decades now, newsrooms have been the frog in the pot of boiling water, never realizing that they were being burned.

We’ve all been suckers.

The thing is, now that we realize we’ve been had, what do we do about it?

How do we fix it and hold them to account?

Good questions.

For starters, stop relying on them to juice your numbers.

And name us five viewers who use Facebook – or Twitter, or any social media platform – to help them make their news viewing choices.

And ask Zuck for your cut.

More News from Friday, December 7, 2018