Social media and news: Facebook and Twitter continue to transform journalism

Journalists have harnessed the power of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for years to report facts or share stories at a rapid pace.

In 2015, that relationship continued to become more closely linked with the launch of new products from both tech firms.

Twitter this year purchased Periscope, an app that allows users to live stream video, just as a similar app Meerkat was becoming more popular. Facebook, which also launched its own live streaming app in 2015, partnered with nine media outlets including The New York Times, National Geographic and BuzzFeed in March to launch “Instant Articles,” allowing news companies to directly publish stories on the social network.

But these new tools also came with its fair share of concerns about piracy in live streaming. News agencies also fear that products like Instant Articles could drive traffic away from their main websites and ultimately hurt their business.

In 2016, don’t expect the social media momentum to fizzle out, media experts predict.

“Now that Facebook has introduced live video for its verified users and pages, we’ll see an explosion of live reporting, talk shows, and all kinds of experiments. No longer do we need studios and fancy equipment — the smartphone in our pocket will do, with decent sound and video quality,” wrote Ole Reissmann, managing editor at bento.de in a 2016 journalism prediction for the NiemanLab.

Research by the Pew Research Center released this year also showed that more Facebook and Twitter users in the United States are turning to these social media sites to get their news.

One-in-Ten U.S. Adults Get News on Twitter, While About Four-in-Ten Get News on Facebook

That could spell more bad news for the struggling news industry in the future.

Mathew Ingram, a senior writer at Fortune, noted in a journalism prediction for the NiemanLab that media companies in a nutshell are losing even more control as social media companies grab more eyeballs.

“Facebook and Snapchat and Instagram are the platforms that matter for distribution now, and they are becoming more powerful rather than less — Facebook already accounts for a huge proportion of the web traffic to major media sites,” Ingram wrote. “And publishers are rushing even further into its embrace because they have no choice and can’t think of a better option. The long-term repercussions of this surrender are unclear.”

Facebook hit 1.5 billion users in 2015. Twitter has about 320 million monthly active users, according to the company’s website.

Photo Credit: National Geographic was one of the media outlets that partnered with Facebook to launch Instant Articles. Image provided by Facebook.

 

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  • AddisonSims

    “Journalists have harnessed the power of social media sites such as
    Facebook and Twitter for years to report facts or share stories at a
    rapid pace” –of course, the term “facts” has been redefined by social media to mean “anyone’s speculation.”

 
 
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