For large majority of people Facebook has become the front page of the world wide web. What web portals (e.g. Yahoo) set to achieve in the '90s, Facebook made into reality twenty years later. Such development has tremendous repercussions for digital publishers. The most successful digital publishers such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy already receive more than 50% of their traffic from Facebook and it seems this percentage will only grow as Facebook's algorithms improve and people loose their habit of going to publisher's front pages directly. But Facebook has more tricks in its sleeve how to entangle publishers in its web and there are clear indications that Facebook is building its own content recommendation system that will not only drive readers to publishers but also make sure that readers continue their web journey guided by Facebook. While Facebook's Related Links service is for now limited to Facebook proper, there's no reason Facebook couldn't provide a widget to publishers to include below the article, just like Outbrain and Taboola already do today. All publishers already include Facebook's Share button on their web sites so expanding on this relationship would be quite easy to do for Facebook.
The advertising revenue of publishers is declining by 10% per year. While publishers get some revenue from digital, the majority of digital advertising's revenue is taken by native digital advertising behemoths such as Google and Facebook. Publishers stand no chance in land grab for digital advertising dollars, so all they can do is downsize their operations and become extremely lean (e.g. Buzzfeed has 300 employees, Upworthy just 50). As for journalists, their only escape seems to be to find a profitable niche and become independent or become writers of content for big brands. But all their former glory and influence on the minds and hearts of the people is quickly vanishing as the new elite takes over.