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Facebook will ‘completely deprioritize publishers’

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For the latest installment of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we spoke to an audience development head at a midsize digital publisher that resisted the temptation to go all-in on those products. The conversation has been condensed.

With all the effort you put into building a good relationship with Facebook, how did it feel to hear that publishers are going to be less important to the platform? 
I guess it would be an annoying, possibly devastating thing for publishers, especially the ones that rely on it so much. We don’t get the bulk of our traffic from Facebook. We have a loyal user base. That’s going to behoove us going forward. We’re not going to be dead or anything. It’s going to be a challenge, but the only thing we can do is be creative. There are new platforms to be discovered on and new ways we can stay afloat.

They are going to completely deprioritize publishers. They very candidly said to me, “If I were you, I would probably not rely on Facebook as much as you are.” So a big strategy for publishers needs to be diversification. The people at Facebook I’ve spoken to have confirmed this. Their efforts are going to be elsewhere.

So, not a lot of contrition there.
Not at all. It was almost like, “It’s not us, it’s the product team.” When you’re a publisher, you don’t think of yourself as part of a test, but really, we’re all at the behest of Facebook and their constant experimentation. That’s all going to go away in 2018.

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