Facebook exec tells publishers it would let them die

Avatar By Le Williams | 2 years ago

A Facebook executive announced to Australian companies and a group of publishers that Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about news publishers and that the company would let them die if they didn’t cooperate with the company.

According to a report by The Australian, Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, explained to 20 broadcasters and publishers that she wanted to help media companies develop sustainable business models through the platform.

“We will help you revitalise journalism … in a few years the ­reverse looks like I’ll be holding your hands with your dying ­business like in a hospice,” she said, in comments corroborated by five people who attended the meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.

The Australian also reported that Brown said that Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, “doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes”, although both Facebook and Brown vehemently deny this comment was made, referring to a transcript they have from the meeting.

During the four-hour meeting, Brown also talked about the company’s decision to prioritise personal posts from family and friends over journalistic content within the news feed. The move has hit some publishers who rely heavily on referrals from Facebook hard.

“We are not interested in talking to you about your traffic and referrals anymore. That is the old world and there is no going back – Mark wouldn’t agree to this,” said Brown.

In March, Brown told the audience at a conference in London that threatening to sue the Guardian ahead of its Cambridge Analytica exposé on data harvesting was “not our wisest move”.

“Right now we are watching massive transformation take place in the news business – both in the way people consume news and in the way reporters disseminate news. Facebook is a major part of this transformation,” she said on her Facebook page at the time.

Facebook has not released notes from the meetings.