Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) doesn’t want to be a media company, and doesn’t want you to think that it is a media company. It is a diversified conglomerate, as it owns Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and much more. Facebook is a software company, a communications website, and… also a media company. Not directly, but it is a platform where media content is posted on and shared, therefore the company has a responsibility for the content posted on its platform.
Facebook was accused that it is filtering news on the Trending feature against conservatives, promoting a liberal agenda. So Facebook tried something new, fired all their human editors for the Trending feature, replaced them with an algorithm designed to recognize what stories are most talked about, and it backfired. On Friday, the Trending feature on Facebook was promoting a fake story about how Fox News icon Megyn Kelly was a pro-Clinton "traitor" who had been fired.
Megyn Kelly was not fired of course, did not announce that she is a Clinton supporter, and is defiantly not a traitor to conservative values. This fake story was on the Trending feature for hours, getting likes and was shared. Facebook provided exposure of false information as Trending news content to millions of people.
This should not have been an issue, because Facebook doesn’t even want to be a media company. Yet, it is playing a major role in the media world. A report published in May by Pew Research Center indicates that about 40% of American adults receive their news from the platform.
John Herrman indicated in an article on The New York Times that Facebook has become a "new and distinctive sort of operation that has become hard to miss: political news and advocacy pages made specifically for Facebook, uniquely positioned and cleverly engineered to reach audiences exclusively in the context of the news feed."
Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations at Facebook, said regarding the Megyn Kelly fake article incident, "This was a mistake for which we apologize, and it has been corrected… We’re working to make our detection of hoax and satirical stories quicker and more accurate."
Well, good luck!