Markets might not tell you what you want to hear but they don't lie

There's a great deal of huffing and puffing going on over in the US over changes to the manner in which Facebook presents news stories. This isn't, in reality, anything very much to do with Facebook but rather about the effects of the internet itself.

The UK has been a - largely enough - national newspaper market since the railways covered the country and distributed the same 10 - 15 titles everywhere. Roughly enough, pre-WWI. The US has just been going through this process in these last couple of decades, as the regional monopolies imposed by geography failed. The industry is haemorrhaging money and, of a great deal more importance to those who write for a living, jobs. Thus the wailing of those who write for a living, the insistences that Facebook and Google should pay for journalism.

Then comes this latest change, that Facebook will be showing people fewer pieces of professionally produced news and more produced by their friends and family. This is, according to some at least, a grave danger to the Republic.


Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to alter Facebook’s news feed to prioritise personal posts over professionally produced news and video was spurred by a potential exodus of users, according to research.

Time spent by average members fell by 7% last August compared with the same period in 2016, and by a further 4.7% in September, according to a review of Nielsen traffic data.

The analysis, by Pivotal Research, suggested that Facebook users had become tired of being bombarded with news stories and adverts.

It appears that the citizenry who make up the Republic don't in fact care very much for the professionally produced writing.

Ah well, pity, eh?