Greedy web borg Facebook to SLURP news websites' golden nuggets

All your content are belong to us

Facebook's assimilation of the web shows no signs of stopping: Mark Zuckerberg's social network is persuading media giants to host their coverage within Facebook.com.

With well over a billion users a month, and its quarterly revenue increasing beyond expectations again in Q4 2014, FB will have been able to enter conversations with media tycoons with considerable leverage.

Indeed, Facebook has already struck some deals, the New York Times reports: the California giant is to begin embedding publishers' content within the next few months. "The initial partners are expected to be The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic, although others may be added since discussions are continuing," the newspaper suggests.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity due to non-disclosure agreements, the sources say Facebook is making attempts to sweeten what could otherwise be seen as a bit of a bullying manoeuvre.

The NYT states that in order "to make the proposal more appealing to publishers, Facebook has discussed ways for publishers to make money from advertising that would run alongside the content".

The ads that publishers present alongside their content on their own sites could be completely removed and replaced with a single custom advertisement within the Facebook article. The company would then engage in some sort of revenue-sharing deal, whereas historically it has told content providers to keep schtum and be grateful for the extra traffic.

Among the more serious repercussions for publishers will be the loss of consumer data. A variety of web tools and cookies are used by websites to create datasets of their audience's web activities. This information is then used to allow advertisers to more effectively track users. This raises privacy concerns, but as the NYT notes: "It has not been disclosed how much of that data Facebook would be willing to share."

Producing absolutely no content itself, Facebook currently allows users to share links to news content which directs them off-site. The fact that users continue to want to journey beyond Facebook seems to be causing the company no end of grief.

The NYT describes "typically... about eight seconds" of loading time for those following links to media articles elsewhere. Facebook apparently thinks that this is too long, especially on mobile devices, and is looking to address the issue by providing content in the site itself before today's bored youth discard it as one of the web's inferior link aggregators. ®

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