Facebook has started to deprioritise independent media, with referrals from the world’s biggest social media platform dropping off a cliff in recent months.
Data shared with Press Gazette from publisher analytics firm Chartbeat and digital intelligence platform Similarweb has highlighted the extent of the fall.
The analysis confirms a warning issued by the UK’s biggest local and national news publisher Reach, which blamed a dramatic page-view slowdown on “recent changes to the way Facebook presents news content”.
But for independent media, the fall in traffic has been even more severe to the point where it has almost become immaterial.
What this means is that the major tycoon-backed publishers will mop up what is left of the diminishing amount of referral traffic on Facebook, reducing your news choices without even giving you a say in the matter.
And that is cause for concern.
At the last general election, mainstream media coverage of the main two political parties became so one-sided it was likened to a ‘major assault’ by American linguist Noam Chomsky.
A Loughborough University study found that press hostility towards the Labour Party in the MSM doubled compared to the 2017 election, while negative coverage about the Conservatives halved.
As Samuel Earle put it to us, Britain has a press “that couldn’t be more servile if it was state-controlled”, and it’s about to get a lot worse.
Last month Facebook owner Meta commissioned a report that claimed that news content plays a “small and diminishing role” on its platform.
What it meant is that news content from independent media will be increasingly suppressed while ‘legacy media’ spreads its wings once again to fill in the gaps.
This poses a serious threat to how you receive your news. But there is a solution.
If you would like to continue reading independent news as part of your daily mix, there are a few ways you can do it.
First of all, feel free to pin The London Economic to your homepage and sign-up to our newsletter to receive regular updates.
On Facebook, you can adjust your preferences by following these steps:
- Click your profile picture in the top right of Facebook.
- Select Settings and privacy, then click Feed.
- Click any of the following options to adjust your Feed preferences:
- Manage favourites to select people and Pages that you want to prioritise. This means their posts will be shown higher in your Feed, and you’ll see their newest posts first.
Thank you for continuing to support us.
Related: Finding Humanity in Travesty