NEW YORK -- In mid-April, Facebook launched a Facebook + Media initiative focused on helping news, television and music partners "drive referral traffic, increase engagement, and deepen user insights on your site," presumably with the intent of closely integrating Facebook with existing media properties and extending the reach of the already monstrous social network.
But is Facebook just an accessory for media companies, or a media company in itself? At Business Insider's IGNITION conference, David Kirkpatrick -- author of The Facebook Effect -- talked with Wendy Harris Millard of MediaLink LLC and Mike Lazerow of Buddy Media about Facebook's odd evolution.
The real question at hand is whether Facebook really is a media company -- that is, a company that produces and distributes attention-grabbing nuggets of content and makes money on them, to paraphrase Business Insider's Henry Blodget.
By this definition, the answer is yes. "Facebook is a media company fueled by technology. All of Facebook's revenue comes from media and ad revenue, hinged primarily on its role as an extraordinary possibility for consumers to talk to each other," Millard said. "Dating site, shopping, ecommerce, etc.... Facebook can do all of it. They can grab a foothold in a lot of the industries, from media to commerce to politics, by distributing content and hearing back. If you can reach more than 500 million people and you don't do so, it's grossly negligent as a business."