Social media has been changing the face of Indian news media. Facebook is used every day by millions of users to connect with friends and family, share their experiences, and build a social network. Not only Facebook today has evolved into a platform where revenues can be earned. It has become a marketplace of sorts, where one can grow or promote their business on a Facebook page or group, search for employment and even play games.
Also, the audiences are now the content creators and they themselves can pick a story and post information about in on their social media accounts. Towards the end of 2018, Facebook has introduced their monetization policy in India. Now anyone can monetize Facebook video content for ad breaks and earn revenue out of it. However, there are certain rules and conditions for eligibility to earn revenue
Increased use of Digital Media – Impact of Covid 19
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, consumers had to change their lifestyle significantly and social distancing, working from home, closed schools and colleges are all disrupting daily routines. According to a recent study, during the third week of March, the visits to websites and mobile apps in the ‘General News’ category saw an increase of 30%. Also, if we compare the visits with the data in February, then we can say that there has been an increase of 97%.
Digital journalism was already stealing a lot of audiences from the mainstream news media when Covid 19 pandemic led to further acceleration of the popularity of the social media as a platform for dissemination of news and promoting news media. The social media is interactive and allows the journalists direct access to their audiences.
People now have a lot more time at their disposal, which they otherwise would have spent working in office, attending events and meetings. According to online marketplace IZEA’s latest study, 66% of social media users believe their social media usage habits will increase significantly in the event they are confined to their home due to the Corona virus.
Also, the audiences are now the content creators and they can pick a story and post new information on their social media accounts.
Promotion of News by media outlets on Facebook
If the news story of a mainstream media is also shared on the social media like Facebook, then it has more chances of getting popular compared to news story which has not been shared on social media. So, the need of the hour is that the mainstream media must keep in mind to share and promote their content on social media as well, to grab the attention of the audience and stay ahead of their competitors. Today, most of the popular news channels and newspapers, all promote their content on Facebook to redirect the audiences to their portal. So, journalists should produce omnichannel content i.e. content that can be shared across all channels. The following picture shows you how a particular breaking news story has been shared on Facebook to increase its reach.
Journalism Project announced by Facebook
Facebook has recently announced $100 million package for promoting journalism. A fund of $25 million will be provided directly to local news organizations which are involved in quality journalism, through emergency grants via the Facebook Journalism Project. Another $25 million will be distributed globally.
The Facebook Journalism Project aims to help the local journalists working for a cause and provides them support for survival. It also makes available training programs to journalists on how to use tools of the social media to create popular and good quality stories. This project was initiated to counter the spread of fake news and promote ethical journalism.
Combating False Information
False information can be very easily spread on Facebook. So how Facebook keeps a check on it? It adopts a number of measures like using artificial intelligence to identify spam and pages which do not adhere to the policies of Facebook. The economic incentives of such pages are revoked. Also, as per the official page of Facebook, using signals such as feedback from community and independent third party fact checkers, the false information providers are detected and their news feed distribution is reduced to minimum. Facebook is constantly improving its policies and taking help of latest technology to combat the phenomenon of false information so that the ethics of using this medium are not compromised.
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