The New Gatekeepers

Another news site that relied on Facebook shuts down

March 5, 2018

Facebook’s latest changes to its news-feed algorithm seem to be taking their toll on companies that have built their businesses on “viral” content for the social network: The latest victim is Rare, Cox Media’s conservative-focused news site, which the company said is shutting down after traffic evaporated. The site was set up in 2013 and worked its way up to 2.3 million Facebook fans and about 22 million uniques at its peak. In a note on Facebook, editor Jack Hunter wrote:

As some of you have already heard, Cox Media Group, our parent company, will be discontinuing Rare at the end of this month. I thought this was something desperately needed when Ron Paul first caught fire in 2008. I thought the same when Rand Paul made national headlines with his 2013 filibuster. I thought so as Rare tried to fill that void in the 2016 election. There still needs to be such an outlet. I haven’t changed my mind about that.

Another Facebook-focused publisher, Little Things, shut down in February after saying its Facebook traffic had fallen by about 70 percent following the latest algorithm tweak, and some media industry watchers say viral-video companies like Jukin Media could also be threatened because their business models rely so heavily on Facebook’s platform for distribution.

Mathew Ingram is CJR’s chief digital writer. Previously, he was a senior writer with Fortune magazine. He has written about the intersection between media and technology since the earliest days of the commercial internet. His writing has been published in the Washington Post and the Financial Times as well as by Reuters and Bloomberg.