Social media giant Facebook is facing unending criticism these days. Most recently, New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards called the company “morally bankrupt pathological liars,” further stating that Facebook enables genocide, in the case of Myanmar, and facilitates the “foreign undermining of democratic institutions.”
Edwards’ comments came via Twitter, though he’s since deleted the remarks.
Facebook has faced a near-constant barrage of criticism in the wake of the Christchurch shooting in Edwards’ home country. A report last week surfaced from Business Insider revealing a deal in which Facebook paid U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph for a series of stories tailored to look like traditional news reporting, known as native content.
“Facebook has partnered with The Daily Telegraph, a broadsheet British newspaper, to run a series of features about the company, Business Insider has found — including stories that defend it on hot-button issues it has been criticised over like terrorist content, online safety, cyberbullying, fake accounts, and hate speech,” the Business Insider report reads, in part.
The series, titled “Being human in the information age,” has featured 26 stories in the last month and has run in print and online versions of the publication.
Coming out of the weekend, Facebook is looking at even more backlash.
“The former host of Gardeners Question Time has accused Facebook of using the Chelsea Flower show to improve its ‘tarnished reputation,'” reads a report from The Telegraph.
Mark Zuckerberg has urged the world’s governments to regulate social networks https://t.co/JOCP1AF9tl
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) April 6, 2019
The social media giant is even going so far as to recruit “trainee community journalists” in the U.K. who will produce in-house stories that paint the company in a good light, reports PC Magazine.
Several studies have shown that a large percentage of social media users get their news from social media, either via sponsored content or friends and social media contacts sharing stories on the various platforms.
However, as The Wrap reported in September 2018, just as many social media users are concerned that the news stories they’re getting from social media aren’t necessarily accurate. In fact, so widespread is the problem of “fake news,” as it’s being called colloquially, that Facebook has invested an undisclosed amount of money into not only investigating and weeding out purveyors of fake news but in funding original news stories from more trustworthy news outlets such as ABC and Fox.
Despite concerns about the credibility of the news stories they’re reading, many social media users say that the convenience of being led to news stories that may interest them, via social media, outweighs any concerns about inaccuracy or bias in the stories they’re reading.