Facebook advertises for a head of news after US election concerns

Facebook is looking for an experienced media executive to help smooth its relationship with the press amid mounting concerns about fake news and the social network’s influence over the public.

On Monday the company began advertising for a head of news partnerships with “20+ years of experience in news, with strong track-record and understanding across the business”. The requirement means those applying must have started their news career before Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had celebrated his 13th birthday.

The applicant will also be expected to be the “public-facing voice of Facebook and its role in the news ecosystem” and “a strong voice within Facebook on the goals and priorities of news publishers”.

The company already has a director of global media partnerships, Andy Mitchell, who has a background on the business side of news organisations, mainly with CNN. It has also employed former journalists in less senior roles.

But the latest job ad suggests the company is looking for someone to address concerns raised by media organisations, politicians and others about the social network’s wider impact.

Fake news stories concerning the US election, in particular favouring Donald Trump, have been blamed by some for influencing voters and has pushed Facebook’s role into the spotlight.

The company has also come under scrutiny for removing the famous photograph of a girl fleeing a napalm attack during the Vietnam war, manually editing its trending results, and attracting the lion’s share of mobile advertising revenues which many media organisations are competing for.

The wording of the head of news job posting stops far short of suggesting Facebook is looking for someone to explicitly operate as an editor, something many in the industry have suggested is necessary but that the company has vigorously resisted.

Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied that fake news on Facebook could have influenced the results of the US election, and while he has said the company would take steps to tackle the problem, he has warned that it should not be “arbiters of truth ourselves”. His staff have reportedly taken a more robust approach, allegedly forming a taskforce to tackle the problem.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jasper Jackson, for theguardian.com on Monday 12th December 2016 17.44 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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