Facebook just fired some shots at the new form of media.
Mike Hudack, the director of product for Facebook, posted a piece on his Facebook page on May 22 that sent a jab in the direction of Vox, BuzzFeed and other forms of new media. Hudack said he was very disappointed with what Vox, and its founder Ezra Klein, brought to the table.
“Personally I hoped that we would find a new home for serious journalism in a format that felt Internet-native and natural to people who grew up interacting with screens instead of just watching them from couches with bags of popcorn and a beer to keep their hands busy,” Hudack wrote. “And instead they write stupid stories about how you should wash your jeans instead of freezing them.”
But don’t worry, Vox enthusiasts (Voxies?). Vox returned the favor to Facebook, commenting on how the social network is a key piece of the news business and how it is very vital to a news organization’s success.
“The trend toward Facebook being the home page for the internet isn't all bad,” wrote Matthew Yglesias for Vox. “Facebook drives a lot of traffic to a lot of stories. Some of those stories are very serious (like the over 6,300 people who shared my short guide to Capital in the 21st Century) and some of them are great-but-not-super-important like the jeans story. And some of the stories are garbage.”
Yglesias also wrote that Facebook, if it isn’t in love with the direction the media is headed, should do something about it.
“If Facebook executives don't like a world in which those are the kind of stories people read, they should do something about it,” wrote Yglesias. “Until then, we in the media are going to keep doing what we've always done — try to publish a balanced mix of content that appeals to a range of people and sensibilities and hits different kinds of notes.”
But this dispute between Facebook and Vox is something that all media organizations are going to look at, wrote Jeff Bercovici for Forbes. Facebook has become so vital to the success of media institutions that newspapers, news websites and online media alike have to pay attention and understand what this means for their future, Bercovici wrote.
“News publishers regard Facebook much the same way ancient peoples perceived their gods: Powerful but mysterious, it can send monsoons that make the crops grow or a parching drought that brings famine, and it never has to explain why,” wrote Bercovici. “Just as the ancients looked to animal bones and cloud shapes for clues to the gods’ intentions, news executives and the journalists who work for them parse every utterance out of Menlo Park (where Facebook's headquarters is located) for insight into the company’s thinking.”