Dr Mumbo

Crikey, Screw Facebook

It seems the good folk at independent news outlet Crikey have finally had enough of the changes Facebook has been making to its algorithm, accusing the social network of ‘screwing’ publishers in a quest for yet more dollars.


Today Crikey’s engagement editor, Sophie Benjamin, penned a piece bemoaning the fact that the site’s Facebook organic reach has dropped by 30%, year-on-year, despite its audience climbing 10% on the platform, saying “Facebook wants to force publishers to pay to promote their content instead of sharing it for free”.

She adds:

More often than not, the posts I do see from publishers and musicians/writers/artists bear the light-grey “sponsored” tag up the top, which means they’ve had to pay money for it to be included in the news feed. Often it seems the only time I see content from a news outlet in my feed is when they’re using Facebook Live to stream a press conference or a round-table of journalists discussing current events. If I never saw a Facebook Live video of something that wasn’t visually compelling breaking news ever again, I’d be a happy woman.”

Indeed Facebook has made no secret of the fact it is promoting user-generated posts above those of publishers, marketers, brands and pages, going as far as announcing the fact in June with an executive admitting it “may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages”.

Benjamin then points out that Facebook is keen to keep people on its platform rather than pushing them to other websites, concluding: “But as publishers, we need to be realistic about what Facebook wants from this relationship. We’re not friends. We’re certainly not equal partners. We’re just another source of revenue for the platform.”

Interestingly, having started the article by mounting a defence of why people should pay for Crikey’s paywalled journalism the post on the website has been opened up for free to everyone.


As Tribe’s Jules Lund pointed out about marketers a couple of years ago: “Your first hit was free, and now little junkies you’ve got to cough up”.

And how does Crikey get its own back? With a bonus $20 off for new subscribers using the discount code “SCREWFACEBOOK”.


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