Monday, October 16, 2017

"Memo to Facebook: How to Tell If You’re a Media Company" (FB)

From Wired, October 12:
On Thursday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg repeated a Facebook talking point that’s beginning to wear thin. Asked if Facebook is a media company, she resisted the characterization. “At our heart we're a tech company; we hire engineers. We don’t hire reporters, no one’s a journalist, we don’t cover the news," she said.

Facebook does not want to be viewed as a media company, which would bring a responsibility to the truth and potential accusations of bias. (Being a mere tech platform that surfaces content via algorithm does not.) Admitting Facebook is a media company would require Facebook to take responsibility for its role in the spread of fake news, propaganda, and illegal Russian meddling in the US election.

To help Facebook executives who may be confused, we compiled this helpful guide:

Are you the country’s largest source of news?
Nearly half of all US adults get news from Facebook, according to Pew. Facebook is the top source of political news for millennials.

Do you sell ads against content?
Facebook users spend an average of 50 minutes on its suite of products each day. Last year the company showed those users $26 billion worth of ads.

Do you commission publishers and content providers to make original content for you to distribute?
“Facebook’s head of global creative strategy—and CollegeHumor cofounder—Ricky Van Veen, has been making the rounds among publishers and other content producers to source, develop, and fund original shows for Facebook,” Digiday reported earlier this year. Facebook also pays publishers, including WIRED, to create videos using Facebook Live....
...MORE, so much more.