Facebook, the social media pioneer launched by entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, is negotiating content sharing deals with a handful of well-known media sites, The New York Times reported
Such arrangements could allow Facebook to host content within its own framework, rather than allowing a user to click through to the original content on an external site.
The new test rollout is expected to begin within the next few months, the Times said.
The New York Times joins Buzzfeed and National Geographic as Facebook's first partners in the venture, but the Times noted that others may also join the original group.
"Such a plan would represent a leap of faith for news organizations accustomed to keeping their readers within their own ecosystems, as well as accumulating valuable data on them," the Times wrote of the deal.
Facebook, in making its case for news partners, has said it seeks to make content consumption more "seamless," the Times added. It takes about eight seconds for a news story linked from the site to load from an external site — apparently too lengthy a process for Facebook developers, who note the lightening speed and fleeting interests of mobile readership, the Times said.
"There are a lot of implications for publishers," Edward Kim, chief executive of the analytics and distribution company SimpleReach, told the Times, noting that small increases in online speed and efficiency matter.
"It really comes down to how Facebook structures this, and how they can ensure this is a win on both sides," Kim said.
News companies have long relied on Facebook to seed content. Noted The Atlantic of the news outlets' increasing dependence on the lift of Facebook: "Vox gets 40 percent of its traffic from the site."
Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith
has offered before that "the list is a lot longer than is publicly known of those that have Facebook delivering half to two-thirds of their traffic right now," the Atlantic noted
That portends a "scary" scenario, however, for those who don't want to buy in to Facebook's offer, and cede their independence.
"There are a number of scary prospects for media companies here. Although serving content through Facebook would make stories load a little faster for users — which, at scale, could earn the social network millions — it also reduces news organizations' independence," The Atlantic wrote. "The deluge of attention from Facebook is something that news organizations have little negotiating power against: Either they will welcome it and will invest on it, or they'll miss out."
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