Facebook’s director of media tries to appease news industry

Facebook’s Patrick Walker assured a room full of journalists that Zuck’s strategy to combat fake news will work. The plan (released previously by FB): stronger detection, easy reporting, third party verification, warnings, related articles quality, disrupting the economy of fake news, and listening. Also speaking at the conference was Espin Egil Hansen, who in September posted an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, slamming Facebook for censoring a photo of the Vietnamese “napalm girl” — an iconic and opinion-swaying record of the human cost of the war.

Avoiding the news that is likely to offend you, while encouraging you to consume and share and validate the news that confirms what you already believe, is a surefire formula for monetizing herds of cybersheep. Don’t be a sheep.

Make Facebook friends with a reasonable person who disagrees with you about something important. Demonstrate to that person that you can be reasonable, too. (Or maybe for you the operative word is “ethical” or “accepting” or “principled”.)

Facebook has always maintained that it’s not a media company. It’s also always faced heat from journalists for making that claim while moving in an institutional direction that indicates the exact opposite. For example: the company wasn’t exactly transparent about the curation behind its “Trending Topics,” and then, subsequently firing human curators after a Gizmodo report exposed the process. One former Facebook employee accused the company of suppressing conservative news.  While Facebook has said it is taking responsibility and action to combat fake news, the company continues to emphasize the role of the community and also cautioned that it is not the internet’s sole outlet of expression. —Mashable

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