Facebook is coming under new pressure from critics after the social media site announced the launch of a new “high quality” news tab that will include controversial right-wing outlet Breitbart News.
As The Guardian reported, Facebook launched a new section that it said would be dedicated to “deeply-reported and well-sourced” journalism. The section, Facebook News, will be a separate part of the company’s mobile app and will include close to 200 different publishers, the report noted.
One of those publishers is Breitbart News, the right-wing news outlet that has generated controversy for its embracing of the “alt-right” and embracing of conspiracy theories regarding Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“It has also repeatedly published anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant views, as well as publishing journalists who deny climate change,” the Independent added in a report on Facebook’s new feature promoting news outlets.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has come under scrutiny for holding a series of private meetings with conservative politicians and pundits in recent weeks. Some conservatives, including President Donald Trump, had publicly complained that Facebook was censoring conservative figures. Critics said that the meetings, as well as efforts to include sites like Breitbart News in its news tab, are an attempt to appease Trump and other conservative critics.
Zuckerberg took to Facebook after the report to defend the meetings, saying that it was strictly for information gathering on his part.
“There’s some press today discussing dinners I’ve had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers. To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time. Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do!”
But as The Inquisitr noted, Facebook could not comment on whether Zuckerberg had met with any left-wing politicians or media figures in the same way.
Facebook remains under scrutiny in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, when the site became a target for Russian propaganda meant to swing the election to Donald Trump. The site was criticized for not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation, and in the wake of the election, the site announced a series of new security measures and other changes aimed at increasing transparency.
Zuckerberg was on the hot seat this week when he appeared before Congress to talk about the company’s cryptocurrency plans, but came under fire on a number of fronts, including the company’s failure to protect the data of its users.