LittleThings, a 100-employee-strong company which posted “feel-good stories and videos” on Facebook, has shut down following Facebook’s pivot away from publisher content to user posts.
“The change, announced in January, had a ‘material’ impact on LittleThings, said Gretchen Tibbits, president and COO of the company, and killed 75 percent of the site’s organic reach,” according to Digiday. “LittleThings is hardly likely to be the last social publisher to meet this fate. Facebook remains a huge source of publisher traffic, but over the past year has been continually curtailing the amount of traffic it sends publishers. The final nail in the coffin came in January when Facebook said it would prioritize users’ posts in an effort to improve engagement on the platform.”
In a statement, LittleThings President Gretchen Tibbits declared, “We’re disappointed. It’s their platform… But until earlier this month, what we were doing was working.”
“The brand safety was a huge selling point for us, but the flip is, our audience is women over 30 in middle America, and they’re not sexy [for advertisers],” she continued. “For our audience, there’s not another platform right now… There are 100 great, talented people who were here and doing content that resonated with an audience that’s just harder to find right now.”
An employee at the company, who must now find another job, also claimed to be “heartbroken,” adding, “There are only so many hits a digital media company can afford to take and we exceeded ours.”
This month, it was reported that Facebook had “completely destroyed independent comedy.”
In an interview with Funny or Die’s Matt Klinman, Klinman claimed, “There is simply no money in making comedy online anymore. Facebook has completely destroyed independent digital comedy and we need to fucking talk about it.”
Many employees at Funny or Die were laid off following Facebook’s pivot away from publisher content, prompting Klinman to criticize the social network and the control that large tech companies have over the internet.
“It was increasingly clear to me that this is not a management problem or a problem with the content that they are making. The problem was that the whole business model made no sense, as far as us just putting the stuff up on the internet and us being able to make a living on it,” he proclaimed. “I was just angry and frustrated and sad that you can’t make cool shit for the internet anymore and make a living.”
Klinman then added that Facebook “has created a centrally designed internet,” that’s a “lamer, shittier looking internet.”
“It’s just not as cool as an internet that is a big, chaotic space filled with tons of independently operating websites who are able to make a living because they make something cool that people want to see,” he concluded. “Facebook is essentially running a payola scam where you have to pay them if you want your own fans to see your content.”