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Facebook’s dead podcast program teaches brands a notable lesson

Apparently, Facebook launched a podcast program almost a year ago, but it was short-lived as Zuckerberg pulls the plug 10-months in.

Person recording podcast

Did anybody else know that, for a while, Facebook had a podcast program?

‘Cause I certainly didn’t. But, yep, that was a thing.

Ten months ago, Facebook announced that they would be offering support for podcasts, to help users reach a larger audience. Seems like a great idea, right?

Well, apparently Facebook didn’t think so, as they’ve recently stated that they’ll be ending the support and removing all podcasts from its platform at the beginning of June – without telling any of the creators or users that they’re doing this.

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So why is this a big deal? Why care about what Facebook is doing with podcasts?

Because it serves as a reminder to us all: there is an inherent danger in creating a brand on a third-party platform.

Websites like Facebook, or even Tumblr, can be really useful in connecting your brand to potential clients but only if they stay consistent. Rules can and will change at the drop of a hat, support can exist for something one day and then completely disappear the next. Or, in the case of Facebook’s podcast program, get phased out ten months after they started because it’s not profitable for them anymore.

It’s more expensive and harder to create your own platform to get your brand out there. But it’s also safer. You’re the one who controls it – the one who makes all the rules.

There won’t be any surprises about support being cut or features being removed because that sort of thing is all down to you and what you want. Say you do want to include a page that hosts a podcast created by your staff. You can absolutely do that.

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It’s yours to create and control, to turn into whatever you like.

It’s kind of like renting a house or an apartment, if you think about it. As a renter, you are subjected to the rules of your landlord, no matter how silly you think it is. If they say no pets, you can’t have pets. If they say no holes in the wall, you’d better put away your hammer and get some Command strips to hang those photographs.

And if you use something like Facebook to get your brand into the world, then Zuckerberg is your landlord to continue the analogy.

Better to own your own space that you can tailor to what you need than to rely on another platform that doesn’t necessarily care what you think or need, but only cares about the bottom line.

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Rory Skupeko (he/him or they/them) is an aspiring novelist from the Twin Cities. He has an English and a Creative Writing degree from Coe College. He spends most of his days being harassed by his cat, who enjoys walking all over her dad's articles.

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