The Big Lie Behind the “Pivot to Video”
Once again, the media is righteously furious with Facebook—this time, for allegedly misleading advertisers as to how many people were watching videos on the social network. The fury may well be warranted, the righteousness not so much.
The outrage centers on Facebook’s alleged deception of advertisers about a particular statistic having to do with video viewership. (Facebook admits it screwed up, but denies that it intentionally misled people.) But that tiff masks a deeper lie on the part of Facebook and publishers alike.
To understand why any of this matters, you have to rewind to 2015. That’s when Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, were going around the world preaching the gospel of online video. Video, they said, was the future of Facebook and the future of media. Text and pictures were on the outs. Within five years, they said, Facebook’s news feed might be mostly video.