Written by Sophie Richardson
At the end of February, media giant Facebook made the decision to remove all news from its platform.
A few days later, they reached an agreement with the Australian government, and news content was reinstated.
While this quick turnaround is a relief to many, it raises some important considerations for businesses. The platform itself is so popular, and used so widely across the world that it has immense influence and power.
Just as it has proven, it can quite literally change government policy.
Some businesses are too reliant on a single social platform
The power of Facebook is of course a large reason for why businesses need to be active on their platform. However, it is also a reason for why businesses must not put all their eggs in one basket.
True, only news content was pulled from Facebook. However, it is an example of how swiftly the platform can take action, regardless of its impact on millions of users.
Make sure your business is across other relevant social platforms, too. Trying to reach a younger audience? Consider Reddit. A professional audience? Consider LinkedIn.
However, it’s worth pointing out that the News Media Bargaining Code will not just affect Facebook; other social platforms will also be impacted by its outcome.
What does this mean for business? Well, there is no shortage of online tools to connect with potential customers and clientele. Make sure you are active on relevant platforms that are popular with your target audience. Have a finger in every pie!
Be ready to adapt quickly
When Facebook pulled the plug on news content, most were not ready for it. However, tensions between the platform and the Australian government were not exactly secret following the introduction of the News Media Bargaining Code.
What does this tell you? Despite Facebook’s threats to pull news media from its platform last year, most businesses did not have a plan in place for if it came to fruition.
Put a strategy together for various outcomes, communicate them with the necessary staff, and be ready to action it.
Other potential impacts of the News Media Bargaining Code
Not only will social platforms be impacted by the government’s decision of the News Media Bargaining Code, major search engines will, too.
Google in particular has been vocal on their plans to pull the service from Australia if made to pay local news outlets for their content. With thousands of businesses across the nation having optimised their website for the Google algorithm, and thousands more purchasing Google ads, this will be a huge blow.
However, other platforms - like Bing - have vocalised their support for the proposed code. This has put them in a good position to take over as Australia’s most popular search engine.
If Google does pull from Australia, or limit the services provided as Facebook did in February, start considering how you will re-work your website for their platform. Its algorithm is likely to work differently. Do the research now and how to optimise it so, if a transition is needed, it can be done quickly and efficiently.
Journalism will adapt
Many businesses use Facebook to circulate news content they are featured in. It’s a big part of a PR strategy to increase visibility, credibility, and reach new potential customers.
So when this was disabled on the platform, what could businesses do?
Like how businesses need to be active on multiple platforms, the same goes for journalism. News outlets’ rolled up their sleeves and put efforts into growing engagement on other platforms, like Instagram and Reddit.
The takeaway here is that circulating news that features your business should remain a PR priority. Audience demand for freely accessible news content on social media is not going to diminish, even had Facebook made its decision permanent.
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