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Danish TV station takes two weeks off Facebook

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Danish TV station takes two weeks off Facebook
File photo: Bax Lindhardt/Scanpix Denmark
10:41 CET+01:00
TV Midtvest, a regional Danish media outlet, will refrain from posting on Facebook for two weeks in an experiment on the importance of social media.

The station announced the decision and ceased posting on the social media site on Monday.

"TV Midtvest is staying off Facebook. Stay updated on tvmidtvest.dk and on our app. We'll be back on January 30th," the station wrote on the last post on its Facebook page on January 15th.

Dubbed a "Facebook celibacy," the media is trying out two weeks free of the social platform as part of a project called "can we be without Facebook", in which a politician, company director, high school student and entrepreneur have also agreed to log out until the end of the month.

TV Midtvest digital media manager Nadia Nikolajeva told Journalisten earlier this week that it had been a daunting step away from social media.

"I had feared a massacre," Nikolajeva said.

"We have had a drop in total traffic on the website of around 20-25 percent. But there was also good traffic this morning when people woke up, and around lunchtime," she said to Journalisten on Tuesday.

During the trial, journalists from TV Midtvest can still use Facebook to contact sources and can post articles on their private pages, writes Journalisten, and readers can still share directly from the TV Midtvest website using the Facebook and Twitter share buttons.

Nikolajeva said that she expected an overall fall in traffic to the website during the project.

"But it may also be the case that this creates user behaviour whereby people get used to going directly to our homepage. If the project gives us more loyal users, it would be a happy ending," she told Journalisten.

The trial also provided more time for journalists to focus on editorial work, she added.

"Sharing content on Facebook is demanding. A lot of resources are spent moderating debate and staying updated on algorithm changes," she said, adding that she "missed dialogue with readers" by staying away from the platform.

Facebook recently announced it is set to make changes to its news feed in 2018, with publishers and brands given lower priority than content posted by users' family and friends.

That could reduce the ability of many news sites to reach readers through Facebook, tech analysts have speculated.

The result of the TV2 Midtvest experiment is therefore likely to be of interest to observers in the media industry as well us for social media users.

In an article posted to the TV Midtvest Lab website on Wednesday, Nikolajeva wrote that, although traffic to the media's website had dropped from 41 percent to 20 percent after the first day of the experiment, early impressions were that "it's going to be okay".

The station is now waiting to analyse figures from its first full Facebook-free week.

READ ALSO: Why Norwegian media lead the world in digital subscriptions

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