Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists that he runs a technology company that simply passes along other people’s content, not a media one that shapes messages. But as it faces complaints about its responsibility for helping people to fool users with fabrications disguised as news, the social media power today unveiled an collection of initiatives that Director of Product Fidji Simo says in a post can make sure that “a healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive.”
The Facebook Journalism Project will collaborate with news organizations “to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age,” she says.
Facebook wants to develop news products that offer “new storytelling formats” and local news. It also will collaborate on new business models, including live ad breaks in videos.
The company plans to offer journalists e-learning courses, newsroom briefings, and tools to help them work with Facebook products.
It will offer training and tools to non-journalists, and promote news literacy, so people “can make smart choices about the news they read — and have meaningful conversations about what they care about,” Simo says.
Facebook also vowed to curb what it calls “news hoaxes.” Among other things, it will help users report problems they see while the ad-supported company makes “new efforts to disrupt the financial incentives for spammers.”
Facebook says that it’s working with fact checking organizations to identify what’s commonly known as “fake news.”
Simo says that the problem “is bigger than any one platform, and it’s important for all of us to work together to minimize its reach.”