Thoughts on journalists using Facebook

First, Brian Boyer wrote: “Craigslist takes the classifieds, fool me once. Groupon takes the coupons, fool me twice. Good thing nobody else is selling display ads!”

Then, Nieman Journalism let Vadim Lavrusik publish essentially marketing copy about how journalists can use Facebook’s Pages product. For free. In exchange for the ability to run ads against your content.

To this, I said: “I’m sorry, but journalists getting in bed with Facebook is the mother of all bad ideas. See: http://db.ly/103 Shame on you @niemanlab

And: “Newspapers sell display ads, last I checked. Facebook has a many billion $ valuation from its display ad biz. Therefore = ?”

And: “‘Here’s the problem: journalists just don’t understand their business.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

And: “Yo journos: How much cash will Facebook give you when it goes public with a $50+ billion valuation? My bet: a lot less than Arianna did.”

Now Paul Bradshaw, a prominent journo-blogger in the UK, has decided to use Facebook’s Notes product exclusively for a month. Vadim, under the Facebook for Journalists moniker, explains:

But to answer your question, you should reference the terms. You own your content. Facebook gets a license so that we can put ads next to it. Not dissimilar from other companies.

Ah, referencing ever-changing terms of service. If you aren’t the customer, you’re the product. Writing these points out on territory I control so I can point to it later.