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Will Facebook become your entry door to the Internet?

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Facebook strategy is crystal clear. Facebook wants to become the only website you’ll be using to enter and navigate the Internet. Never before has the message been so clear: everything must go onto Facebook and all other websites should become useless. Facebook wants to concentrate the entirety of the Internet traffic.

To find out how the Internet may look like in 10 years from now, read further.

Facebook will become your newspaper

Facebook recently announced its alliance with several major newspapers, including The New-York Times and The Guardian. The program is called “Instant Articles” (see details on the Facebook site). Until now, newspapers used to post hyperlinks on their walls, with a redirection to their website. The key was indeed to drive as much traffic as possible on their website (for advertising reasons, you guessed it) and to avoid users from staying on Facebook where no advertising revenues is generated for content producers. According to Facebook, the rationale behind Instant Articles is the loading time and the user experience. They write:

As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook. People share a lot of articles on Facebook, particularly on our mobile app. To date, however, these stories take an average of eight seconds to load, by far the slowest single content type on Facebook. Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles.

Facebook will become your broadcaster

As you may have noticed, in Facebook some videos start automatically (so-called “autoplay”) whereas other don’t. Those which play automatically have been uploaded to Facebook (which becomes therefore a repository for video files). Companies posting links to videos (either pointing to YouTube or other players) will be negatively impacted. The user experience is indeed much better when the video autoplays; but enhancing the customer experience and his/her satisfaction comes at a cost. You won’t be able to generate traffic to your website anymore and you’ll have no idea whether the video will be visible on your fans’ walls (remember the visibility of a post now depends on the edge rank. If you want to keep control, keep in mind you’ll be penalized by Facebook.

Facebook will become the central place for your content

Eventually what Facebook wants to become is a repository for original content. They want less links towards the outer world and want to keep the user on their platform. Whether audio, video or text Facebook’s aim is to keep you as long as possible and to not let you go.
The more original content archived on their platform, the better they’ll be able to track behaviors, understand what we like/dislike and the better they’ll be able to segment their users’ database and increase profits. I attended a Data science presentation in Brussels on 20 May. One of the presenters (Istvan Hajnal, Euroclear) explained how much he believed in NLP applied to Big Data and data mining. Petaoctets of content will enable Facebook to leverage NLP and text mining.

Our take

The pact between newspapers and Facebook is only one step (among many other) towards the realization of facebook’s ultimate plan: become the internet. If websites, medias give their content to Facebook, why would you still visit other websites. Facebook will become the internet and vice-versa. For more information you may want to read this blog post.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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