Facebook has become one of the biggest sources of Internet traffic, replacing Google Search as the focus of many online newsrooms. Now, the social media giant may be preparing to shift from linking out to popular articles to simply hosting that content on its own site.
The New York Times reports that several media companies, including its own content, are close to finalizing deals with Facebook. In total, the social network has approached around six news sites, including BuzzFeed and National Geographic. Articles hosted on Facebook would run next to ads, with those profits presumably being split between publisher and host.
Teaming up with Facebook could give news sites a big advantage over the competition. Articles will likely load even faster and may get better placement in the News Feed. On the other hand, striking this kind of deal means giving up a ton of control. It’s also possible Facebook could change terms of the deal down the line, similar to the way it plays with its current News Feed algorithm.
If this turns out to be a success, it could become the norm across the entire news industry, though for now it sounds like Facebook is taking things one step at a time.