Social media goes down, news readership goes up

On Aug. 3, Facebook went down for 45 minutes. This didn’t lead people to simply put down their phones or walk away from their computers. Instead, they went to news websites.

Josh Schwartz, writing for Nieman Lab, points to this occurrence being indicative of changes in traffic trends.

“[W]e’ve seen a major reversal in the specific sources driving traffic to publisher sites in the past year,” Schwartz reported.

Schwartz is chief of product, engineering, and data science at Chartbeat, which analyzes content and online traffic for media companies.

With Facebook down and users going directly to apps and websites of media outlets, Schwartz said news publishers should view that as a good thing. This is because publishers no longer have to rely on social media to drive traffic, at least they don’t have to rely on social media alone.

Here is one key takeaway from Schwartz’s report:

“mobile direct traffic to publishers is now greater than traffic sent by Facebook to publishers’ sites. This means consumers are now more likely to get their news by typing in a publisher URL or opening an app than by being referred through Facebook.”

If such trends continue, it could require a rethinking of mobile strategy by media outlets. This is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Read the full article here: What happens when Facebook goes down? People read the news

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About toddvogts 773 Articles
My name is Todd Vogts. I am an assistant professor of media. I like the color green, riding my motorcycle, and being with my family and friends. A good book is a perfect companion for me any time, and I'm a published author and journalist. Visit my website at and follow me on Twitter at