Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Facebook will pursue charging users to read "paywall" newspaper articles

Facebook is working on a way to allow newspapers to charge readers through Facebook when they read embedded news articles that would normally be behind a paywall.

Currently, major newspaper stories expand automatically as embeds and are free when viewed on Facebook.

When a blogger links to such a story, the newspaper may, on its choosing, invoke the paywall when the user clicks on the link  (newspaper stories don’t normally expand automatically within blog postings). 

That’s why there is some preference in using news stories from broadcast networks rather than newspapers, but often major papers do have major scoops first, or major opinions. 

The Washington Post has the story here
Another copy of the story is on WWLP.  Facebook may need permission from Congress to do this.

Facebook could offer users the advantage of consolidated billing, which would enable users to read behind many paywalls much more cheaply than paying for each one separately through the Web. 

Not sure if Twitter can do anything similar. 

Update: March 14, 2018

It would be well to mention Facebook Instant Articles here.  We'll look at them in more detail again. 

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