Mark Zuckerberg trails Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, but he is a close second – very thoughtful about directions that the internet will take next.
His new announcement lays out some new bread crumbs on his thinking:
On the outside, this is positioned to help users. Instant loading of content (versus 8 seconds on average); smartphone features like scrolling and video loading, etc etc. To avoid a mass revolt of publishers, he promises 100% ad revenue, 100% loyalty to branding requirements of the content – stuff like that. This is the stuff that would make these desperate souls go ballistic. Good job, Mark. Your move will cause barely a ripple.
On this inside …..
It’s a barely masked scheme. He wants to be the internet publisher – pure and simple. He wants FB to be the face to the user. He wants NYT, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, etc to stand down – to stop pretending that they have any hope whatsoever that they can be the face to the user. He wants them – all of them – to be the feedstock for him – much like associated press provided the feedstock for publishers around the U.S. They are syndicators of content – nothing more.
To his credit, all the media titans are lining up – singing his praises, genuflecting as he promises loyalty to them. Most especially, they are genuflecting to his 1.2 billion users. The great NYT could only dream of a presence like this. So, instead, they help him validate this initiative by participating in the video of the launch. Watch it. You’ll see what I mean.
Yes, its a barely masked scheme. He will make them look good, very good, over the next five years – instead of looking pathetic and desperate like they do now. But after a while, once he has them all in his clutches, he will begin to squeeze, slowly and systematically – taking full advantage of his position as the face of the whole operation (pardon the pun).
Sadly, this probably foreshadows, like the advent of the Huffington Post, the death of scaled content – the kind of content that was so well researched (by the NYT, for example) that it could sit my butt down for a Sunday morning while I read it carefully. Well researched, fact checked, complete, insightful, content.
I think the FB move is basically saying to HuffPost – “move over; you are not the content aggregator; FB is”.
Dying to see the next chapter in this book! Or, ummmmh, article.