February 16, 2017

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of a “strong news industry” in his 5,000-plus word manifesto published this afternoon.

Calling the news “critical to building an informed community,” Zuckerberg said Facebook will do more “to make sure this vital social function is sustainable.”

“…From growing local news, to developing formats best suited to mobile devices, to improving the range of business models news organizations rely on,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Facebook recently started an outreach campaign to local news organizations after working primarily with national newsrooms to prototype its media products over the years. Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google have gobbled up much of the advertising dollars that traditional media once profited from and continue to grow their market share.

The manifesto, which is a repudiation of isolationism and defense of community building, also addresses other topics of interest to the media such as the rise of filter bubbles and misinformation.

With regard to fake news, Zuckerberg says he believes “accuracy of information is very important” and takes seriously the spreading of hoaxes on Facebook.

We’ve made progress fighting hoaxes the way we fight spam, but we have more work to do. We are proceeding carefully because there is not always a clear line between hoaxes, satire and opinion. In a free society, it’s important that people have the power to share their opinion, even if others think they’re wrong. Our approach will focus less on banning misinformation, and more on surfacing additional perspectives and information, including that fact checkers dispute an item’s accuracy.

Zuckerberg grapples with criticism that Facebook and other social media networks merely provide a community that reinforces its users’ political ideologies in his post. He argues that social media provides more diverse viewpoints than traditional media like TV networks or printed newspapers.

However, Facebook must provide “a more complete picture, not just alternate perspectives,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Research shows that some of the most obvious ideas, like showing people an article from the opposite perspective, actually deepen polarization by framing other perspectives as foreign. A more effective approach is to show a range of perspectives, let people see where their views are on a spectrum and come to a conclusion on what they think is right.

You can read the full post here.

Disclaimer: Poynter is a partner in Facebook’s journalism project.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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