Talking New Media

Facebook rolls out News Feed Publisher Guidelines, meant to instruct publishers on their craft

The social network Facebook today posted a set of News Feed Publisher Guidelines which tell publishers what kind of content to post and even how to create it.

It is, well, incredibly tone deaf.

Facebook has been a purveyor of clickbait, fake news, and worthless content, meant to push members further into their own tribes. Its role in the 2016 election has both Republicans and Democrats wondering if there is a need to regulate social media companies tighter. Certainly there is a drive to make sure social media companies are required to report political advertising details in the same manner as broadcasters and the press.

The goal of News Feed is to connect people to the stories they care about most. For publishers, this means creating content that’s meaningful or informative. People expect the stories in their feed to be meaningful to them and we have learned over time that people tend to value stories that they consider informative. We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about, but we are in the business of connecting people with the stories they find most meaningful. Publishers should ideally focus on what they do best; making the important and meaningful stories interesting to their audience..

Emphasis was in the original — and the sentence is, of course, word salad.

The rest of the guidelines are no better as Facebook deems to talk about clickbait and ‘misleading content.’


Facebook is reportedly experimenting with a scheme that would force publishers to pay Facebook to have their content show up in the News Feed.

“As part of a new test in six countries, Facebook is taking content from publishers and businesses out of its main feed. Instead, those posts will exist in a separate, hard-to-find feed that Facebook recently launched for discovering new stuff, called the Explore Feed,” Recode reported on Monday.

“Though Facebook claims it doesn’t plan to roll this out globally right now, the fact that Facebook is even testing it should be terrifying for publishers, almost all of whom rely heavily on Facebook’s News Feed for distribution.”

That so many publishers rely on Facebook to boost their digital audience numbers is the real problem as few publishers have appeared to learn the lesson that the techs make very poor publishing partners.