“We’re At The Mercy Of The Algos”; More News Sites Say Facebook’s ‘Fake News’ Filter Is Killing Traffic

Yesterday we highlighted an article written by the Chicago Tribune’s Deputy Editor for Digital News, Kurt Gessler, which provided a fairly compelling set of facts to suggest that Facebook’s ‘fake news’ filter was suppressing the distribution of articles from media sources which undoubtedly consider themselves “legitimate new outlets” (with the definition of ‘legitimate’ left solely to the discretion of Facebook execs, of course).

As it turns out, the Chicago Tribune was not alone as Gessler’s article prompted a whole host of digital publishers to come forward with similar stories of traffic destruction.  Per Digiday:

Facebook’s news feed algorithm changes have been part of publishing reality for many years. But to Matt Karolian, director of audience engagement at The Boston Globe, “last month was probably the worst we’ve had in reach in about a year. The fact everyone else is seeing it is a little bit troubling.”

Aysha Khan said Facebook reach has also been sliding at the Religion News Service, where she’s social media editor.

“Reach spiked in the summer, and we started hitting 15, 25K reach on bigger posts that were polarizing,” Khan said. “It wasn’t just political posts, but any kind of interviews. Anything that had potential to get a big reaction got a big reaction. But then we noticed that kind of stopped, and by January, it was just gone. Now we’re worse off than we were to start with.”

The change has happened even as RNS has been doing more video, including live video, and photos, things that Facebook has encouraged. Khan said RNS is still trying, though, with plans for more regularly scheduled live video and videos generally.

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