Facebook “Is Not a Media Company”?
September 1, 2016
Facebook recently made the change in their “trending” section – as a result of firing their editorial team. Note: not some or even many, but ALL the editorial team. The trending section is an answer to outlets like Twitter that provide constantly updated news. Facebook’s “news” section has been less about providing notable news – things like celebrity birthdays and other tabloid-esque trends. In any case, the removal of humans and the replacement of AI and technical staff to curate newsworthy topics has proved rather disastrous. Feedback has understandably been negative.
As has been noted elsewhere, the number of people that engage with people, and thus use it as a news source is great; therefore, Facebook has some responsibility in the information they present. Whether that means providing world changing events, or at least something more notable than a celebrity outing, at least the responsibility is to provide truth – whereas one of the first stories trending from the non-editorial staff was completely false.
Interestingly, for a platform “connecting the world, it did away with the human element. Not only that, but Facebook serves you content based on your friends, likes, dislikes, but if it wanted to be part of the news game, it should have included stories outside one’s immediate circle of influence – that is what makes it news after all – it pulls from a variety of sources to give you up to date information. Also interesting to note, Mark Zuckerberg made the statement that Facebook is a tech company, not a media one. Those statements as well have come under much criticism.