Facebook Dismisses Concerns It’s Becoming A Media Company
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is denying that it will ever become a media company, despite its recent forays into the media industry. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the firm would remain a technology platform and had no ambitions to become a content provider. The topic came up as part of his live-streamed Q&A session on Monday.
Zuckerberg explained how Facebook is a technology company that gives media companies tools and a platform. He maintains that it isn’t a media company because it doesn’t create content. Zuckerberg acknowledges the role Facebook has in supplying users with news through their connections. Many consumers are now turning to social media networks to find their news. Zuckerberg also stressed the advantages of obtaining information from different parts of the world.
Facebook takes advantage of content created by its users by distributing that content and making money from it through advertising. The company controls its news-feed algorithm, which ultimately determines what content gets shown to which users. Facebook also has Instant Articles, the super-fast loading news format that the company sells ads for.
These measures have given Facebook a huge amount of power. Control over distribution has become almost as important as the actual creation of content. Facebook currently has more than 1.5 billion users. The company has also been paying some media companies, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Business Insider, to make video content for its site.
It has been a particularly difficult year for Facebook and the news business. The company recently announced humans will no longer write the descriptions for stories that appear in its Trending News section. The change occurs a few months after a report by Gizmodo disclosed that Facebook contractors were suppressing conservative news from Trending News. Facebook denied any systemic bias in its Trending News selections.
Facebook came under fire again on Monday for including a fake story about Fox anchor Megyn Kelley in its revamped Trending News section. The company has also been accused of making the wrong editorial judgments on what sort of violence it will or will not allow in its videos. A recent action by the company to suppress what it deems “clickbait” from users’ newsfeeds has also sparked widespread calls of alarm from publishing companies.
Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan had a private audience with Pope Francis on Monday. Zuckerberg reported he gave the pope a model of Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight solar-powered drone developed to extend internet access to unconnected places. The pontiff has recently met with a number of Silicon Valley leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet’s leader Eric Schmidt. Zuckerberg also met Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday. Renzi is seeking to upgrade Italy’s limited internet infrastructure.