Facebook Looks To Host News Content

Social media giant Facebook is talking with newspapers and several other top news organizations about hosting their content directly on Facebook, according to the New York Times. While news stories from a wide range of publishers already appear on Facebook, they currently require readers to follow links back to the original sites.

Facebook is floating the new approach because "milliseconds matter," as the Times article noted on Monday. Opening such linked news stories takes time, especially for users on mobile devices, and Facebook doesn't want to lose users who find themselves waiting for external pages to load.

In addition to the New York Times, Facebook has reportedly also been looking at partnering with BuzzFeed and the National Geographic. Other sites that have been approached for such content-sharing, include The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Quartz, according to the Times.

The Pursuit of 'Eyeballs'

The proposal to share news content from other sites directly from Facebook raises a number of issues for an already struggling news industry. Traditional print newspapers have been bleeding readers for decades, and their online news sites typically haven't been able to capture enough paid subscribers to make up for such losses.

A newer generation of online publishers -- BuzzFeed, for example -- has had greater success at attracting enough "eyeballs" to generate healthy ad revenues. However, that success often entails publishing viral content rather than investigative journalism or hard news.

Some news publishers have found other solutions to that challenge. The Guardian newspaper in the U.K., for instance, is owned by a limited company (once The Scott Trust) that covers the publication's ongoing financial losses to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity." First Look Media's The Intercept -- which publishes investigative pieces by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill and other journalists --...

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