Face-ternet? Facebook in Talks to Host News Stories Directly on Site

AP Photo
AP Photo

Facebook is reportedly in talks with dozens of the world’s biggest media empires, including the New York Times and Buzzfeed, to host news content directly on the social networking site.

Rather than some kind of revolution, this seems more like the logical extension of a trend already underway. As of last Fall, Pew Research reports that roughly 64 percent of Facebook users — 30 percent of the U.S. population — gets news from the social media giant.

For many users, Facebook is becoming a more significant portion of their digital experience than Google.

For now, Google is a gold standard of information-seeking, comprising about 30 percent of overall traffic to publisher websites, according to SEO firm, Define Media. But, as the graph below shows, Facebook’s influence over news traffic is increasing rapidly.

For publishers like Buzzfeed or The Verge, with a younger and more digitally-savvy audience, Google News drives less than five percent of traffic (for Buzzfeed, it’s less than one percent). That is, recommendations from friends is a more important influence than self-directed search.

So, Facebook is in talks with news brands whose audience already gets much of their news from social media. These users won’t ever have to leave the comfortable embrace of a social network. Facebook, in a sense, will be the Internet for many users.