After months of speculations on whether the social media giant – Facebook Inc. – is actually encouraging fake news on its platform, the Chief Operating Officer of the social network – Sheryl Sandberg – clarified that Facebook is not a media company. She further said that the social media company is being run by engineers, not journalists.
Facebook not being run by journalists, but engineers
The social media giant hired Campbell Brown – former NBC anchor – in January this year to lead the news division of the company but according to the tech giant’s COO, the social network is being run by techies and not journalists. Sandberg, on Thursday during an interview to U.S.-based news site Axios, stressed that the technology giant is not a media organization, and does not hire journalists. She added that the social media company is being run by engineers and technical workers.
The social media giant does not produce news content, hence, it cannot be a media company, said Sandberg in an interview to Axios. She said, “At our heart we are a tech company. We hire engineers. We don’t hire reporters. No one is a journalist.” Further, Sandberg added, “We don’t cover the news. But when we say that, we’re not saying we don’t have a responsibility. In fact we’re a new kind of platform… as our size grows, we think we have more responsibility.”
Facebook, which is a major source of information and news for people, is generating over billions of dollars in ads revenue. The social media giant also produces its own original television shows. A firm which does all those things is classified as a media company, then why is Facebook executive refusing to call Facebook a media company?
Facebook doing all those things that a media company does
According to reports, the social media company does not want to harm its $500 billion valuation by calling itself a media company – it wants to remain a ‘tech company.’ However, the company should not do the things that a media company does to strengthen its refusal as well. The hiring of former NBC anchor Campbell Brown to lead the news division of Facebook and work with other journalists to increase their use of the social network, does not solidify Sandberg’s claims.
As per reports of Business Insider, “Britain was already considering regulations that would treat Facebook more like a media company.” When question about elections was raised, Sandberg said, “We know we have a responsibility to prevent everything we can from this happening on our platforms… and so we told Congress and the Intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them.” She added that the social network would have allowed the content to remain on the site if Russian-linked ads were posted by “real people” and not fake accounts.
She said, “When you allow free expression, you allow free expression. Facebook owes the American people an apology. Not just an apology, but determination for our role in enabling Russian interference during the election.”