Oct 3, 2023 - Economy

Social media traffic to top news sites craters

Data: Similarweb; Chart: Axios Visuals

Traffic referrals to the top global news sites from Meta's Facebook and X, formerly Twitter, has collapsed over the past year, according to data from Similarweb.

Why it matters: Website business models that depended on clicks from social media are now broken.

What's happening: Regulatory pressure and free speech concerns have pushed tech giants to abandon efforts to elevate quality information, leaving the public more susceptible to misinformation ahead of the 2024 election.

  • Meanwhile, news companies are scrambling to find business solutions while simultaneously fighting to protect their work in the AI era.

The big picture: While the news industry has known this day would come, many are still unprepared.

  • A slower ad market and less reliable traffic contributed to a record number of media job cuts this year.
  • Efforts to reach voters with trusted information are becoming more difficult as tech platforms lean into viral trends, instead of quality news.

Yes, but: Disruption is often a catalyst for change.

  • The over-reliance on social media traffic kept news publishers from focusing on building stronger consumer products of their own.
  • Publishers are better prepared now to defend their intellectual property in the AI era having learned from their mistakes of being too heavily reliant on third parties for survival.

Go deeper: Social media news consumption slows globally

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