Facebook as news
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
8 July 2016
Is Facebook as news scary?
Do we now view Facebook as news? Is it a news source?
After a live, 10-minute video of a police officer shooting a black man (Philando Castile) in Minnesota was posted on Facebook, there is a great deal of chatter about Facebook’s role in news and its responsibility because it seemed it was a media outlet posting NEWS. Facebook as NEWS has become a topic of discussion.
I want to say right from the start that this blog post will not touch on the footage or the event. Neither will it speak to the shooting of police officers in Dallas. This blog is about Facebook as a news organization.
Should Facebook post live videos of events? Does it have any responsibility of content? To my thinking, Facebook is schizophrenic on this subject. It censors copyrighted material. You can’t post a video on Facebook of your children at a playground if you have placed a sound bed in the background of a popular song.
Facebook wont publish it. I can’t post a photograph on my Facebook feed with text in it (like a sign that says STOP for example) because Facebook has a policy of not boosting a post with an image that contains a certain percentage of words in it. Nudity is not allowed.
Where is this going?
But you can post a live video of a young man bleeding to death. The images are abhorrent. No one argues with that. But where does it stop?
If Abu Musab al-Zarqawi posted a live video of his beheading Nick Berg, do you think Facebook would allow it? Not on your life.
If it did, the uproar from society would unfathomable. It seems to me that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Think abut this. Would nudity be OK on Facebook as long as it was a live video of a rape? Where does our voyeurism end?
Facebook is a part of our lives to be sure. But Facebook as news should not be.
Are we to blame for Facebook as NEWS?
Why has this happened? Why is it that for many, social media has become their news source?
I know a good deal about branding. I know that a need in a target market creates demand. I know that meeting that need is a predictor of success. I know that we get what we deserve as often as we get what we need.
The real issue here is a turning away from real news and substituting it with pop-culture drivel. Broadcast news is just entertainment masquerading as news. The public gets affinity news broadcasting (broadcast news that sells an agenda and bias) because it does not want news.
When CBS decided that its news bureau needed to be a profit center rather than a public service, more than just personality died when Walter Cronkite passed away. We lost NEWS.
Think about the demise of the newspaper. Subscriptions are in decline. Reporters are being let go and readership is running for cover.
There is responsibility in live postings
To my thinking, I am upset that Facebook posts crap like this. There is no editorial ownership, as there once was with CBS. Facebook thinks it is doing a public service by showing our lives in its raw experiential form. I think we have enough reality TV, thank you very much. I don’t need to see everything in its raw form.
I need that as much as I need the bizarre talking heads on Fox News spinning everything they report. I’m hungry for knowledge, not to witness the wost of humanity. Will Facebook spend time and money making sure that similar videos are edited for agendas? When will we be finished as a modern society of Peeping Tom’s?
I think the killing in Minneapolis would have been real news without the Facebook post. The news was not the shooting. The news was that it was “captured live on Facebook. Marshall McLuhan was right. The medium IS the message. Too bad. Too bad.
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