It is hard to put all these different tea leaves down and try to figure out precisely what will happen in the next 12 months or five or 10 years. At the same time, none of these issues exist in a vacuum. At some point, each impacts the other.
Perhaps this is one of those times.
Ever since legacy publishers and broadcasters got serious about selling interactive advertising, they have struggled with how to do it.
Should veteran ad representatives be cross-trained to sell portfolios of traditional and digital advertising? This came to be known as the two-leg sales call.
Should specially trained digital ad specialists accompany legacy reps on four-leg sales calls?
Should digital marketing strategists accompany digital ad specialists and legacy reps on six-leg sales calls?
Now, some of the biggest names in digital publishing are going in a decidedly different direction than flooding the zone with sales power: They are moving to zero-leg sales calls that eliminate human beings altogether.
Under this plan that media access to networking data becomes even more important.
Here’s more on that now, The most concerning element of Facebook’s potential new power:
Much has been made of Facebook’s potential new partnership with the Times, Buzzfeed, and a handful of other news organizations, who may soon start posting stories directly on Facebook instead of having Facebook readers reach their content through a link. This move has the potential to make a lot of money for cash-strapped news organizations and produce another anchor into the news world for the cash-flush social network.
It also has the potential to rob news organizations of their soul. Felix Salmon believes this could kill the news brand (it could). Others, like Mathew Ingram, argue that it could give Facebook too much control over which news organizations thrive and which will die when the social media company decides to tweak its algorithm (it does). But the problem is much broader than that.
What this discussion has missed is perhaps the most crucial element of Facebook’s new power: the right to choose between the free expression of ideas or to instead impose censorship when it deems content unworthy. That should worry the public, because when given that power in the past, Facebook has ruled with an iron fist.