Daniel Barker | Natural News
In what many critics are calling a “Faustian bargain,” nine major media outlets (including the likes of The New York Times, National Geographic, The Guardian and NBC News) have agreed to partner with Facebook in providing content for the social media giant’s new scheme called “Instant Articles”.
Facebook will directly host the news articles on its News Feed, which will reportedly mean much faster loading times because users won’t have to click on links that can take up to ten seconds to load on smartphones.
One reason the partnerships are viewed as something akin to a bargain with the devil is the fact that most of the media outlets involved have rather reluctantly agreed to go along with the plan in what has been termed a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” situation.
In other words, the news outlets are hungry for the vast Facebook audience and the monetization that the partnerships will create, but at the same time, the sources will be forced to end up competing with themselves. If you can get your news stories loaded instantly on Facebook, why would you choose to visit The New York Times website, for example?
The more skeptical among critics of the partnerships are predicting the demise of traditional news organizations altogether. That might be a little on the paranoid side, but there are plenty of reasons for the news outlets and the public to be wary.
It appears to many people that Facebook wants to take over our entire lives. The platform already mines more of our personal data than the NSA does, and it is constantly expanding its reach into our daily lives by targeting advertising and content to individual users based on search histories and preferences.
What happens when Facebook begins deciding what news stories we get to see? Once the algorithms Facebook uses to create targeted ads are applied to the stories it feeds us, how will that affect our perceptions? Do we really want Facebook spoon-feeding us the news it sees “fit to print”?
Google and Facebook have already seized far too much control over our access to information. Google does this by deciding what is searchable and how the results are ordered, and Facebook does this by deciding which posts and content get highlighted.