In a historic White Paper shake-up, the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, has revealed plans to supersede the BBC with Facebook by the end of 2018. Due to budgetary constraints and cost pressures, the government believes that it could free up significant funds by terminating all BBC platforms in favour of the social media website. The TV license fee would be subsumed under a new Facebook affiliation charge of £2,500 per annum, purportedly aligned with luxury spa and health club membership rates.
In the future, Facebook must put ‘distinctive content’ at its heart, the Culture Secretary has said. Indeed, social media users must evolve to ask themselves: ‘are my updates and posts sufficiently innovative and high quality’ rather than simply ‘How many likes did I receive?’. The White Paper also recommends diversifying the ethnicity of your online friends with a greater focus on under-served audiences, in particular those from black, Asian and minority backgrounds. The far-reaching reform would mean that editorial decisions, specifically with reference to political rants, sexist remarks and racist bigotry would be explicitly the responsibility of the Facebook member. Ofcom will not regulate the new service in order to encourage diversity of profane output.
Mr Whittingdale has rebutted earlier allegations that ‘the BBC should not be popular’ by proposals to supplant the public service broadcaster with the world’s most revered social network. Although programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing will be lost, prime time slots are likely to be filled with well-liked Funny Animal and Lad Bible videos. Current affairs news stories will be ‘shared’ from other sites with objective but personalised introductory comments such as “Can you honestly believe this twat?”, “this is an ABSOLUTE disgrace” and “why do we f@cking bother?”.
Responding to the White Paper, BBC director-general Tony Hall commented, “These recommendations deliver a mandate for the strong and independent Facebook the public believe in. After 2018, I hope to find work in the private sector on at least a similar or slightly inflated salary plus bonus.”