Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, is starting to admit Facebook is a media company, not just a tech company. In the past, he only associated the social network with the technology industry.
During a video chat with Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook does more than distribute the news and have an influence on public discourse. He has been under fire recently because some think Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election due to Facebook’s “fake news” problem.
In a Video Chat, the Founder and CEO of Facebook Finally Admits Facebook is a Media Company
Zuckerberg admitted in a live video chat with Sandberg:
“We don’t write the news that people read on the platform. But at the same time we also know that we do a lot more than just distribute news, and we’re an important part of the public discourse.”
The live video chat was an end of the year reflection that Zuckerberg and Sandberg recorded on Facebook Live to share with the community. They have a tradition of meeting twice a week to discuss Facebook-related issues and since this was the last meeting of the year, they decided to share it with the community.
After Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November 2016, some people have blamed Facebook for allowing “fake news” on the site. Concerns over Facebook’s influence were also raised when the social media site removed a famous Vietnam war image. Zuckerberg has tried distancing himself from responsibility over Facebook’s influence on public opinion, but seems to be ready to accept some of the responsibility now.
Facebook had hired editors to curate its trending news feed, but they fired them in August 2016 in response to complaints that Facebook was censoring right-wing content. They put in place an algorithm to handle the trending news feed, which sometimes failed to detect fake news. The company is now working with fact-check companies to prevent any fake news stories from trending on their site.
For months, Zuckerberg denied that Facebook is a media company. He defended the company as a technology platform that distributes content created by others via an objective algorithm.
In light of several studies that indicate how influential Facebook and social media in general is on users, it can no longer be denied that Facebook is a media company too. Yes, it is not a traditional media company and didn’t start out that way, but that is what Facebook is today.
Facebook has plans to continue its venture into media. For one, they are planning on developing their own TV shows. Again, that is something no one can deny counts as media.
According to Pew Research, 20% of adults admitted that their view of an issue changed because of social media. Of those who had a perspective change from a social media post, 17% said that social media has changed their view of a candidate.
Another Pew Research report found that 62% of adults in the U.S. get their news from social media. 44% of all U.S. adults get their news from Facebook.
Why Should We Be Concerned That Facebook is a Media Company?
We should be concerned that Facebook is a media company because it was once just a social network where people could connect with their friends in an online space. Most people have it ingrained in their minds that Facebook is a social network, but now it has transformed into a media company as well. What’s more concerning is how long Facebook denied they were a media company because it indicates lack of responsibility for their influence on the public.
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