An excellent piece on re/code used Facebook and media companies as an example when considering "what happens when what you do is now done by someone else." But, the author didn't take it far enough, arguing that Facebook (a platform) now does two of the five things that media companies traditionally did, here:
But actually, Facebook does all five.
1. Curates via algorithm (and apparently people too)
2. Distributes to audiences through their platform.
3. Monetizes through advertising.
4. Hosts content through Instant Articles.
5. Creates content by paying publishers to post certain formats, for instance Live Video, and through its acquisitions like Oculus Rift, which creates both hardware and some proof of concept VR experiences.
Now, some may argue that Facebook isn't really "creating" but sponsoring content. And to a certain extent that is true, but it is certainly moving more towards creating, and it is naive to think they won't become a "publisher." More likely is that Facebook just won't call themselves that.
Facebook is already a concern to publishers, who are losing control over the distribution of their content. But, at least for now they still create the content that Facebook distributes. What happens to publishers when Facebook decides to properly move into content production?
It seems likely that those who have niche business and have already moved to subscription models -- showing that individuals are willing to pay for their content -- will be okay, but will have to figure out how to work that model into distributed content. More teasers (a nice example is what FastCo does with Medium) or working with other publishers to build a paywall on/with Facebook (Google's AMP works with subscription models, for instance), seem to plausible outcomes.
But, what happens to everyone else?