Mark Zuckerberg’s VP promises that Facebook will give priority to original stories while doing this to content that threaten violence


Facebook has announced that stories with original reporting will get a boost in the News Feed, while publications that don’t clearly credit their editorial staff will be demoted.

The change comes as a number of high-profile companies have said that they will pull their advertising from Facebook as part of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, organized by civil rights groups as a way to pressure the social network to take stronger steps against hate speech and misinformation.

On Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will start labeling, but not removing “newsworthy” content from politicians and other public figures that violates its content standards.

He also said that content threatening violence or suppressing voter participation will be removed even if it’s posted by a public figure.

Today’s blog post from VP of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown and Product Manager Jon Levin doesn’t mention the ad boycott, and it suggests that these changes were developed in consultation with news publishers and academics. But these certainly sound like concrete steps the company can point to as part of its efforts against misinformation.

What gets prioritized in the News Feed has long been a thorny issue for publishers, particularly after a major change in 2016 that prioritized content from friends over content from publishers.

“Most of the news stories people see in News Feed are from sources they or their friends follow, and that won’t change,” Brown and Levin wrote.

“When multiple stories are shared by publishers and are available in a person’s News Feed, we will boost the more original one which will help it get more distribution.”

As for “transparent authorship,” Facebook will be looking for article bylines or for a staff page on the publisher’s website. As Brown and Levin noted, “We’ve found that publishers who do not include this information often lack credibility to readers and produce content with clickbait or ad farms, all content people tell us they don’t want to see on Facebook.”

While these same like smart, straightforward changes (Google announced similar steps last fall), Brown and Levin also warned publishers not to expect “significant changes” in their Facebook traffic, since there are a “variety of signals” that go into how content gets ranked in the News Feed.

CANDIIDONLINE gathered that more than 160 advertisers, including PepsiCo, Unilever, Starbucks, Verizon Communications Inc and The North Face have joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign and pulled off advertisements from social media, especially Facebook to protest against the platforms’ inability to stop hate speech and misinformation.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started by US civil rights groups earlier this month who said that social media was doing too little to stop hate speech on its platforms. The campaign is organized by six US non-profits, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The campaign follows the death of George Floyd, a US black man who died in police custody, which has triggered worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.

Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while detaining him on May 25.

Real cause of George Floyd’s death finally revealed!

Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was criticized after the company, unlike Twitter Inc, decided not to take action on an inflammatory post by President Donald Trump on the Black Life Matter protests held following the killing of George Floyd.

Starbucks, Unilever, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Verizon Communications, Magnolia Pictures, Patagonia, Recreational Equipment Inc, The North Face, Upwork Inc and Rakuten Viber are some of the major brands that have announced either a boycott or pause of advertising on Facebook.

Following widespread criticism, Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a live-streamed company townhall that Facebook would ban ads that claim people from groups based on race, religion, sexual orientation or immigration status are a threat to physical safety, health or survival.

The social media giant said it will start labelling newsworthy content that violates its policies and label all posts and ads about voting with links to authoritative information, including those from politicians.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed its new policy would have meant attaching a link for voting information to US President Donald Trump’s post last month about mail-in ballots. Rival Twitter had affixed a fact-checking label to that post. Facebook also said it is working with civil rights organizations.

Shares of Facebook closed down more than 8% and Twitter ended 7% lower after Unilever PLC said it would stop its US ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the rest of the year, citing “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the US”.u

“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society. We will be monitoring ongoing and will revisit our current position if necessary,” Unilever said in a statement.

Anti-Defamation League, a US-based civil rights group fighting antisemitism and hate speech, said in a letter to advertisers it had found a Verizon ad on Facebook appearing next to a video containing anti-Semitic rhetoric from conspiracy group QAnon.

Verizon Communications Inc said it was pausing advertising on Facebook following widespread support for the campaign. “We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable,” a Verizon spokesperson said.

Patagonia, which has been politically vocal in the past, joins clothing maker VF Corp’s outdoor brand, The North Face, as well as Recreational Equipment Inc, or REI, in pausing Facebook ads.uh

“From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred,” said one of the Patagonia tweets.

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Written by Mateen Badru


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